On the Beaten Path: Living in a City where being “like everyone else” is a Good Thing.

I come from a town where it hurts to be different. Most high schoolers dress the same, food tastes the same no matter where you go, and every road is indistinguishable from the other unless you have lived there your entire life. Even if you have often traveled those boring roads, your still not getting anywhere. I guess it is a cool place to live; for me, it is a love hate relationship.

Since moving to Durham, a place where you can be anyone you want (not so much because there is more freedom, but because most people don’t notice or care who you are), I have noticed that, in certain places, it is cool to be like everyone else.

As I was taking an afternoon jog a few days ago, I noticed that there are several paths made in the grass from runners and bikers. Most of the time I try to stick to the sidewalk, but there is a about a 1/2 a mile distance where the sidewalk ends and the beaten path begins. So, as a smart person, I follow these paths made by the thousands of feet who have run before me to adventure and avoid death by moving vehicle. That is when I started to think that following and being like others in this city may not be so bad.

First of all, this would never happen where I grew up. Literally speaking, these type of beaten paths do not exist. Next to no one runs in my hometown, and if you are seen running, there is a chance that you are either being chased by something and/or everyone in the neighborhood will think you are in some type of trouble (based on a true story). Secondly, Durham is situated within the health capital of the world. It’s always a good idea to follow the lead of those healthier than you, whether it is dealing with their faith or bodily health. Also, Durham portrays a place where opinions are valued, fundamentalism is challenged, and ideologies are at least called into question by most. These are good things to imitate and apply to one’s own life, no matter who you are or where you live.

Therefore, my goal has become to always follow those beaten paths made by the runners of Durham. Maybe one day, when I am better fit, I will make some of those paths myself. No matter where your sidewalk ends, have the courage to step off it and follow the beaten path. Just make sure that path has been made by able feet.

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