#AtoZChallenge: N is for a new path (and why you don’t need one)

stormtrooper conch shells 2018 trip antique shop

When I set out on the #AtoZChallenge way, I had ideas.

AtoZ2019NOne, for N, was New Path. It made sense at the time. It should have been N is for Ninety. As in, I’ve written 90 drafts of this post. There are also 2 hours, 22 minutes until the N day is done. So I’d better at least save the N badge before the world turns to O.

I can’t get over the fact that despite us wanting to take new paths, can we, really?

We can hope to alter our next steps. We don’t have the option of a new path. Yesterday, we set our GPS for a Goodwill in Jacksonville, where we were on a getaway. Only, the GPS took us to a building that looked like it could have been a Goodwill.

One day, before.

Much as we would have loved to lift ourselves off the reality plane and into an actual open, thriving thrift shop full of unforeseen treasures, we couldn’t. We had to start from there. By that building. That might have been a Goodwill. One day. Before.

esteban coconut water 2019 photos target
What happens when I misplace my name tag and am also trying something new to drink.

Kicking cursing (and other improbabilities)

There are plenty of habits I’d like to ditch.

Caffeine. Cursing like a lost art (kinda.) Treating a family-sized Nilla Wafers box like a serving size. I want to deliberately place myself into the given moment, which I did a superlative job of on getaway – and why I’m unapologetically behind on blogging now.

I’ve found myself categorizing thoughts, the same that used to sink me.

Thoughts that keep me trapped in less-optimal categories. There’s a natural tendency of negative thoughts to take the headline and centerpiece. Can I loosen that grip in my mind? I believe I can. Because I’m able to move out of those thoughts easily now.

Life is easy when it’s easy.

When we get caught in thoughts, we forget the moment. And the moment is gone. A few times, I’d worry about this job or that while we were combing the beach or watching a baseball game. But I also felt those thoughts recede into the background of my mind.

Our minds are bossy, aren’t they?

panthers stadium 2018 walking uptown charlotte
Sometimes my path leads me here.

Experience over thoughts

We often say she has a good head on her shoulders. Maybe it’s so not because her mind leads the body, but because it doesn’t. A mind’s ruminating can keep you from actual experience. One way I’ve found out of this: To focus on physical sensations.

A sore elbow, a popping knee, the sun on your face … these physical sensations help me to feel connected to where I am, not where I’m thinking.

I see things afresh. Less lost in my head. More present in my world. I let go of the usual story, and allow others to be who they are, where they are. Everyone fits where they should. The girls. Me. The server at the seafood restaurant who suggested chipotle ranch.


A new path might have taken me to write another post. To miss out on Biggie’s Pizza. To not have the cosmic convergence of passing by the exit 103 of Interstate 93 in Georgia for Springfield – at the same time, Jessie’s Girl came on the Spotify.

I can’t make this stuff up.

And although my feet are sunburned, the shells I brought home not as lustrous as when I plucked them out of the Atlantic Beach sand, and I never did make it to the gift shop to grab a Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp baseball hat, I’m unequivocally on the right path.

A to Z Challenge:

A is for Almost (and also At Last)

B is for Baggett (as in Laura, the actress, and #GirlsRock interview)

C is for Cursive, Cats, and Chinese Restaurants (Go Ask Daddy about them)

D is for Drawing the Line

E is for Every Day Gratitude

F is for Fieri, Falling in Love, and Focus (Weekend Reads IV)

G is for #GoAskDaddy: An interview with realtor Kristen Foxx

H is for Habit of Peace

I is for I Shot the Sheriff, Item Lifting and other Illegal Activity (Go Ask Daddy)

J is for Journalist, a #GirlsRock Interview with Esther Robards-Forbes

K is for Kickass Kindness (to go with #gratitudeandshit)

 L is for Low Self-Esteem, Life Sucks, and Electric Lit (Weekend Reads V)

M is for Manifest your dreams? No thanks. (Here’s why.)

Sweet quote path.png




  1. my30somethingadventures.wordpress.com/ says:

    Couldn’t agree more about our minds being bossy and how easy it is to get lost in our thoughts.
    Great quote by the way.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I think my kids might say the mind is, what, bouji? Something like that? Or not.

      I was quite happy to find that qoute, Anthea!

  2. theresaly520 says:

    Awesome blog post!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks – I have your blog bookmarked and followed! Look forward to delving in.

  3. Beth says:

    You are on the right path, your path is already determined. As you said, we’re in charge of how we walk that path though. We might veer off here or there and that’s ok too. Love your thoughts and wisdom as always my friend!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m glad there’s plenty of Easter candy on my path, Beth. But not too much. I think you and I see it the same way. And I like the path you’re on, if that matters. A lot.

      Thank you for the kind words!

  4. ksbeth says:

    we are always on the right path, we just don’t realize it at the time, or what it is leading us to

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Yes! That gives me all the comfort I need, Beth.

  5. Lauren Becker says:

    Great post! I’m glad you feel you’re on the right path, and it’s good to just stop and enjoy moments.


    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thank you! It feels a bit repetitive in reading it, but when it’s happening, it’s anything but.

  6. ladystubbington says:

    I love the twists and turns that the path of life takes us on. And, they shouldn’t be easy or they’d be boring!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      The twists and turns make the journey worthwhile, don’t they? I’ll take a challenge over boredom any time.

  7. It is hard to stay on your “path” sometimes. I know.. I have been on this path to finish school for 5.. no 6 years now and it will be ANOTHER year before I finally have my diploma in my hand. And people wonder why I don’t want to go on to get my Master’s?? smh… they don’t get how much it has taken out of me up to this point. I just want to be done. 12 more hours and then I will finally be able to use what I learned… I hope :-/

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I believe our path is always where it should be. We just don’t always realize that.

      1. I think you are probably right… but I also know if I could jump time, I would certainly change A LOT about my life!!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I’d have cooler hats, for instance.

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