Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Road Less Travelled vs. The Road Not Taken

People always say, “Take the road less traveled”.  I’ve always used this as a sort of mantra for my life. Because when you think about it, why do people say this really? They say it because taking the road less traveled requires discipline, bravery, and strength.

 Scott Peck said it best when he said, “The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
M. Scott Peck

So in my mind to take the road that is travelled most is like depriving yourself of the opportunity for the truer answers and the finer moments. The being out of your comfort zone, the feelings of uncertainty, these are all necessities which can only be obtained when pushing you down that uneven, bumpy, road less traveled.

Then I remembered a poem that I read awhile back by Robert Frost called, “The Road Not Taken.”  It’s a famous poem for its “hooray for the future” interpretation. When people read it they can immediately relate by recognizing the “fork in the road of life” metaphor.  The crisis and decisions that are usually accompanied when someone feels they are at a fork in the road is symbolic to almost everyone. Because the choice of which road to take is a great connection between free will and fate. Now whether you believe in fate or not is your own prerogative. But for me personally I believe it’s a bit of both. I believe we have some choice in what our lives become because we wouldn’t be who we are otherwise. However in my past posts I talked about gut feelings and there is a part of me that thinks that those gut feelings is the universe way of guiding us toward our destined fate. But that’s a whole other topic so kind of going back to the poem…

 The author stands in the woods with two roads in front of him. In this poem there is no road less traveled. Both look equally the same. Neither is more travelled or less travelled then the other. Nonetheless, the speaker knows he needs to make a choice so he just takes one to travel down.  What I like about this poem is that the speaker knows he is going to question his decision later down the line, he will wonder what is on the other road, and he will question if he made the right choice or not. I find this to be so honest, and quite frankly, reality. How many times do you find yourself thinking, “is the grass really greener?” But the truth is in this poem there is no right path. Just the chosen path and the other path.  At the end of the poem the speaker is sighing. Not because of a wrong decision, but because of the decision itself. Because each decision he made is stacked and stacked upon themselves. Which consequently marks the passing of life. It’s the decisions he made in those particular moments that made his journey the way it was.  Hence, the poem’s theme being a nature of “seizing the day”.

So, the road less traveled or the road not taken?  I guess it’s kind of like the age old question, “is the glass half empty or half full?” When I originally started brainstorming about this post I was going to write about how I feel like I am constantly attempting to live a life that most people wouldn’t. But now I don’t think it’s about that. Now I think it’s about picking a road and just going. Because it’s not actually about the road it’s about the decisions you make while on that road. So rather than my mantra being “take the road less travelled”. I think I shall now change it to… carpe diem.

“The Road Not Travelled” By 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.

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