Posts Tagged ‘Life Questions’

                         “The Road Not Taken”

                        – Robert Frost

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,  
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;         
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,         
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.         
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.         

                   I came across this poem on a blog I regularly read and was again completely impressed by the universe’s power to send a message at exactly the right point in time.  Not that this poem is a new message for me — I have read and re-read this poem countless times since being introduced to it in grade school — but very often I need to be beat over the head with an idea repeatedly before an “oooohhhhh” moment kicks in. 

                   I think this poem is regularly abused.  I like to picture Robert Frost groaning with his head in his hands when people use his poem and message to justify making some irresponsible decision or to avoid doing something unpleasant or burdensome.  Not that I am completely innocent of mangling this poem’s message at convenient points in my life (I mean really, isn’t it a less traveled road to study for the Bar exam by the pool with the assistance of a margarita?)  But right now, I am struggling with an important decision, one that will affect not only my life, but the lives of those around me and two lives that are still waiting to begin.  Perhaps I am dramatizing the momentousness of this decision, but this is what it feels like sitting on my shoulders at this moment. 

                  So while I hesitate to sound cliché by invoking Frost’s wisdom, I really do find myself struggling with the idea of the “road less traveled.”  After all, if you read the poem closely, it’s not like there was a signpost that indicated the “less traveled” road.  In fact, he says that the road was “just as fair” as the other and that they were worn “really about the same.”  So for all my waxing poetic about taking that less travelled road so that my life will be fantastic, how the hell do you know which is the road less travelled?

                   But wait — Frost doesn’t say that taking the less travelled road will make your life fantastic in every way.  All he says is that taking that less travelled road has made all the difference in the life that he chose to lead.  Either path I choose at this cross-roads has good and bad that comes with it;  both are “just as fair” in many ways.  What I think Frost was saying is that you have to choose  a path with your heart, and not by contemplating how others will perceive you or how you will nicely fit into the social structure.  You also cannot choose this path by attempting to predict what lies around the bend because this will always fail.  I am a huge believer in intuition.  If you are very honest with yourself and genuinely listen to what your innermost voice is whispering to you,  you will choose the road less travelled because it is your path and yours alone.


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