Monday, March 21, 2011

Two Roads Diverged

Riding on the bus, this week and looking out the window at the wide world going by, I found myself thinking about the Robert Frost poem that ends with a stanza about roads diverging in a wood. Travel makes me meditative anyway, and I started thinking about times in the past when I’ve had to choose a path—and what might have happened if I’d gone a different route.

Everyone faces forks in the road, in big and small ways, over and over in life. It’s inevitable. We could talk about it on the level of major life decisions (law school or art school?), minor life decisions (pizza or Thai?), or even the day-to-day minutia of functioning in the world (speed through the yellow light or stop?). Today I find myself looking back and wondering…what if?

I think often in my own experience I’ve chosen the less traveled path, as Frost does in his poem. I’m both happy about and proud of that, but sometimes it leaves me curious—what if I had done the expected thing? What if I had followed the path that seemed easiest, or most clear? Would I be less than I am today? Would I be fabulously successful? Would I be miserable? Would I be happy?

I’m not living a life of regrets, or anything. I don’t particularly long for do-overs in any major aspect of my past. That’s not the purpose of my pondering, but simply to wonder…what if?

What are the big “what ifs” in your life?

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