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, The Road Not Taken
Should I have said “Spoiler alert”? Did I give away the theme of this blog post by posting the ending of that poem? Can you add me to the list of perps guilty of riding that old broken mare well past the point of her prime?
Maybe yes, maybe no…
Regarding the maybe yes, this is indeed referring to that point of decision, that choice, that fork in the road, toss of a coin, bifurcation of probabilities. This, however, extends beyond deciding whether or not to wear the black or tan pants or deciding if you want to have fish or chicken at the wedding reception of your cousin’s sixth marriage, or even if you want to go to the wedding as you skipped the second through fourth and you may not get invited to her next three if you don’t attend this one.
This goes into the realm of decisions where there are serious ramifications and reverberations of consequence that extend well into the future from whichever choice is made. We find ourselves weighing two beefy hefty thick decisions, knowing our lives will go in completely disparate directions whichever we choose.
Most commonly, this type of decision ends up getting based on what we might be able to foresee as the outcome of a given option. We examine each path and try to ascertain all the events that will follow from that choice and how our lives may turn out accordingly. We basically throw our crystal ball down the lane and hope it hits the head pin of predictability.
Frost wasn’t necessarily indicating the road less traveled as being the one that isn’t popular with the cool kids. He might have meant it to be the road that had no signposts or waypoints or hadn’t been driven by the Google Street View car. That road could have led to a Waffle House or an Ikea, to a Queensryche concert or to Rhyolite, Nevada.
The point is, he had no way of knowing where that road would take him. He could take Madison Avenue which goes to Cookie Cutter Lane with makes a right at Sure Bet Street and guess what? He ended up exactly where he thought he would. Safer? Probably. Happier? Insert shoulder shrug here. The allusion here is when it comes to making a big decision, sometimes there’s nothing more like jumping into a glacially fed lake to make all your cells come alive than choosing the decision that lies beyond the Monte Hall curtain, that takes you everywhere, anywhere, and nowhere in particular.
Got a choice? One outcome is a given the other a mystery? The choice should be obvious… it’s not the obvious choice. Me winking while I wrote that is totally implied.