Not cool Robert Frost!
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…” starts Frost in a poem that most people are at least familiar with, but typically is misnamed. The poem is often identified as, “The Road Less Traveled”. This makes sense because the poem talks about the thought process behind why he chose the road less traveled and that it was worth it. That’s not the name of the poem though.
The poem is actually entitled, “The Road Not Taken”. The title stuck with me, the road less traveled was the point of the poem, or so I thought, so why title it “The Road Not Taken”? I think the hint lays in the last paragraph.
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
While poetry means different things, depending on the lens you view it by, I really feel that the poem is about regret. He took the road less traveled, even though he states they were about the same, it was obviously something to remember. He says it made all the difference, yet he is still lamenting over the road not traveled.
Life is full of ‘what if’s’, more often than not, even if the road you took “made all the difference” you still focus on the road not traveled. I think that is why movies like Back to the Future are so popular, time travel gives people the escape from consequences and regrets, you don’t just take the road less traveled, you can take both and never wonder what would have happened. You’re no longer constrained by the “what if’s.’
Every second of everyday you are left with a choice, this or that, up or down, sleep or awake, sometimes the choices are of more substance and those, are the choices that shape our lives. Tell your story to the world, or keep it locked away like a delicate possession. That particular choice is not fair to use as an example in my case. I’m sharing my story regardless and I hope that it helps others. It’s more the fear of the unknown when I think back to that road not taken than it is wonder.
I would suggest that the person who does not regret anything is either lying, or has not thought back to the choices they have made in life. Regret isn’t an enemy, it is a motivating force to help you make better choices. It isn’t something to feel guilty over, or stay up late at night pondering.
We all think back to the choices we have made, maybe even regretfully. However, even if you could go back in time and change everything, would you really want to be a different person than the one you are today?
Maybe you want to have a better job, or a different car, but the regrets, the choices you did not make, those would not just change the circumstances of your life; it would change what has shaped you into the person you are at this very moment. The world would be a slightly darker place because of it, I promise.
We all make our own path in life and the road not taken, that has shaped us into who we are today, whether it is the road everyone takes or it is far off the beaten path of humanity. The road not taken should not be a sad memory, just one of thankfulness. After all, we are all exactly, where we need to be right now because of the path we took in life.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I am the person I am today because of the road I’ve taken. The pieces of myself I’ve shed along the way are sometimes remembered, yet not often missed. I generally find myself thinking about the road not taken, but I think… I’m okay living without the reminder.
In short, not cool Robert Frost!