The road not taken

“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…”

Extract from The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost

Lately I find myself over processing one particular concept, almost to the point where all the nutritious value has been squeezed out of it and it no longer resembles the original thought, that can be summarised with the word “roads”. Not concrete related, but rather the decisions we make that sculpt the route of life’s journey, each road presenting its own surprises, obstacles and rewards. I’m having a bit of a ‘Robert Frost moment’; pondering on the roads I haven’t taken and how things might have been different…

I’m thrilled to have come back to a place I’m absolutely in love with, where I plan to work to live (not the other way around), catch up with old friends and embrace new experiences, too. However, perhaps it’s human nature or just my over-active imagination, I can’t help but questioning my choice.

Having graduated from university in June, this is the first time that the route was not already calculated by my educational ‘tom-tom’ and, unlike Frost’s two roads, I feel like there are multiple paths diverging in my jaundiced wood. Straight ahead, further study. More travels to the left and internships on the right…but was my decision to turn on my heel positively biased?

Who knows? Just like Frost, I too am sorry that I can only be one traveller; wouldn’t it be great to be able to split up into three? Sending each of our ‘selves’ down a path of the possible future, to report back to the present self, instead of craning our necks in attempt to catch an impossible glimpse of what’s around the corner, only to be left with a nasty crick.

Then again, where’s the fun in that? If we could see what was on the horizon, we would tactically steer away from the unpleasant events, but consequently miss out on a valuable lesson in life, or we would choose the more attractive path and most likely feel a pang of anticlimax syndrome when the foreseen fantastic happenings finally happen.

Amongst the haziness of “should have, would have, could have…” thoughts, I’m beginning to realise that we must have faith in ourselves and our decisions. Something compels us to take the roads we take and that gut instinct is the only justification you need, if one is needed at all, for your life decisions. And besides, everything happens for a reason; perhaps you were never supposed to take the road you walked past or perhaps the road you are currently following, is the one you needed to take in order to really get on track.

I still maintain a little niggle of curiosity; although the roads I take make all the difference, the ones not taken will be remembered as those that were not right for me at that moment in time and also kept in mind as those that might just be the perfect choice at the next crossroads…

“…Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back…”

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