Monday, 5 November 2012

What Robert Frost Forgot To Mention About The Roads

I sometimes pride myself on being compulsive and impatient – it gets things done. But there are other times that before I make a decision I recite Robert Frost’s poem in my head. It doesn’t always help me make the right decision but it does help me make the choice I’m more naturally inclined to. It also (most importantly) often forces me to take risks and try something new. 

I’m very grateful to my high school English teachers (& later Varsity lecturers) for introducing me to Frost’s work, he’s one of the only poets I found to be relevant. (Just like Freud is one of my favourite psychologists – although that is often frowned upon.)

This is my break-down of how I apply the lessons in “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;

There isn’t time to stand around for a long time. Decisions are made almost immediately but it’s the internal struggle of fighting with your instincts that hold you back. Just take the first step and the rest will follow…

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,
 The grass is always greener on the other side! Not necessarily better, but perhaps green in the sense of “new” and “fresh”.

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. 
 You will never return to the same situation. Once you’ve made a choice, new challenges and choices will arise and there will be different “roads” to pick from.

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.
 It’s going to be a sigh of relief and contentment rather than one of sadness and regret. Don’t be scared to take the road least taken, you might be pleasantly surprised at what you encounter...

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