The Road Not Taken by. Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, 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
Why this poem? Because the theme of “choices” has been haunting me again. Not necessarily me making the choices, but others in their own situations as I observe.
Also, Josh and I had a deep talk about choices on Sunday. My friend Heidi Becker has this poem describing her blog lifefullofloves and it reminded me of the theme of “choices” that we all have to make in life. It never, ever ends. Every morning you wake up, you start making decisions and choices the moment you open your eyes.
You decide to live today and get out of bed (or not). From that moment on, it’s all about the choices you make that day and the next and the next…
What of Josh and I talking on Sunday?
We are grateful for owning our own home. We are. Even though I get irritated when it’s messy and it takes time to care for the household and the gardening and just the basic upkeep of homeownership (bills, chores, maintenance) at times we will look at each other and sigh in relief and never ever forget how amazingly blessed we are to have our own space. It’s our American dream and we are living it. It’s very difficult to do so in Hawaii.
Josh talked about Philly and where he was in his life before he decided to join the Navy. It was what brought him to Hawaii at 25 years old.
I talked about me, how at 17 years old I was dating someone who wanted to marry me. As much as I loved him, I thought…no, there is more I want to see and do. I made the decision to leave for the mainland at 17 years old, severing a relationship I thought I couldn’t live without.
Josh and I did the “what if…” game. What if he never came to Hawaii? What if I never left for college to California? Our paths, our lives would have been so different.
He would have become a teacher, married a nice girl from Philly and bought an affordable home there, be in close proximity to his mom and sister and niece. And be suffering through cold weather, shoveling snow.
As for me. I would have been married at 22 years old and have three kids by now. Haha…or maybe not. I would have been living at my parents house, or his, still in Kalihi.
In retrospect, these choices don’t seem awful, does it? To be married to good people and have a family, have your old friends around you and both families melding into out, it’s a beautiful life. But when I was 17 I thought it would have killed me. I felt stifled, choked by an invisible hand. I felt chained to the floor when all I’ve wanted to do was soar, fly and explore. I felt awful for wanting something different when I had something so good in the palm of my hands.
But I chose to explore. I chose to go. And I reveled in my time at college away from home. I learned so much about being by myself, relying on my own decisions and choices, dealing with the consequences of certain choices (hey isn’t that what the college years are about? lol…yikes). But most of all I learned I was stronger than I thought, mentally and emotionally.
There were consequences to my leaving but seeing my life at 32 years old, knowing where I’ve been and what I’ve done, it was all worth it. It was all supposed to happen. We have to own up to our mistakes and decisions. We are only human, we aren’t perfect.
And if I didn’t take each step I’ve taken on this path of life I’ve carved out for myself…I wouldn’t be here, would I, in this house? Maybe I would…but would I be with Josh? No…would I have met Bobby? Most likely not.
My life would have been slightly easier, less emotionally and mentally challenging but I wouldn’t change a thing. I am where I am at with the guidance of God, my own mental calculations and determination to live the life I wanted, and the family and friends who remained beside me even when I made choices they wouldn’t have made for me.
I have many younger family members and if they are reading this…I hope you get the message I’m trying to tell you. Keep your feet under you as you walk on this journey called life. Sometimes you will trip and fall, pick yourself up and dust yourself up, you may have a scrape and some bruises but keep walking. Your journey at times will be lonely and you will cry. You will think you are alone. But the trees are around you, the wind, the sky, the rain and sun. Sometimes you will meet people on your journey, and sometimes they will cut through the woods and take another path away from you.
And yes, many times you will come to a fork in the road, don’t stay at the fork too long, don’t be afraid to make a choice. Another favorite author of mine, the good Dr. Seuss says in “Oh! The Places You’ll Go!” said…
“You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.
You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.
You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.
And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.
You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?
And if you go in, should you turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.
You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.
No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!
Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.
Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.
I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.
Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.
And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.
But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.
You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)”
I love to give this book to graduates. It’s oh so true. Dr. Seuss said it simply about life, our choices, the paths we take. If you don’t have it, buy it! It’s great to read when you are feeling low and confused about life 🙂
I will continue on this journey of my life, with Josh beside me. We’ve become partners to reach a goal for a future we both want.
At 17, the goal I saw in my future was mine…at 32, the goal I see in my future is OURS.
Today I choose to reach that goal with a person who wants the same thing. Amazing 🙂
Some people know at 17 who they want to spend the rest of their life with. For me, I needed a little more time to decide. I wanted to spend it with ME first and now I’m ready to spend it with someone else.
It warms my heart…I’ve made the right choice and it sings through my body like a song I can’t shake out of my head. It moves me this choice I’ve made.
As Robert Frost said…and I will say it again hopefully when I am 64 years old… 🙂
“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”
Godspeed on your journey.