Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Road Not Taken

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;

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 marked 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.

Robert Frost

 So which road would you have chosen? I look at this poem and see a safe path, well used and possibly even a bit predictable. The other path, however, could be somewhat exciting or challenging in its unknown.

I know I look back on my life and often wonder how different it could have been. I have opportunities I’ve missed and challenges I didn’t face that might have created a completely alternate life. I have regrets….doesn’t everyone?

What do you do with those regrets? Wallow in wonder and visualize how perfect things might have been if only? Or can you take ownership of the outcome, finding the aspects of positive that came from a wrong turn, bad decision or poor choice.

I know when I was going through my divorce my ex-husband would constantly tell me how I was ruining his life. At the time that was the reality for him. Now he is soon to marry, I hope his perfect match. He is, I guarantee, far happier than any point in our time together. It took a while, it wasn’t his choice of path but rather one he was forced to take. But now he can see why it was the best path for everyone.

This past spring I found myself standing in shallow water off an Island in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef surrounded by black tip and lemon sharks. I grew up in generation Jaws. Shark attacks plagued my nightmares. Yet my oldest son went through a huge shark obsession. Shark Week on the Discovery channel was better than Christmas. How could I go home and tell him I had missed this amazing opportunity.

So, snorkel in place, cheap water camera ready, pep talk complete, I chased sharks. 

I swam with them a few more times that trip. Some days the water temperature took my breath away but when was I ever going to be there again?

We choose our paths every day, from doing a job, being responsible parents, choosing our eating habits, activities and relationships. So when you’re standing in front of that path that frightens or intimidates you will you pick the more comfortable choice? Or will you dive in and chase your sharks?

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