Monday, June 27, 2011

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

"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"

I remember reading this poem in middle school. I had a different interpretation of this poem by Jack Frost than I do now. At that point in my life, I also thought that writing poetry immediately made you a deep, thoughtful, and wonderful person. I believe I was mistaken.

When I first read this poem, I assumed that Frost implied that taking the road less traveled by is the better choice. You see, to a young child like myself, all adults "got it." They went through whatever spectacular transformation makes you a full-fledged adult, and they earned the right to say things like, "because I said so," and "I'll tell you when you're older." I admired adults, you see, because they had ALL the answers. Ha! How naive was I...

In the end of the poem, Frost is speaking of how he'll be telling the story in the future, when he's older (and wiser). So when he says, "and that has made all the difference," I took it to mean, "and that made my life better."

Perhaps these are silly ramblings, but I think this poem is just a small example of the mindset I have worked to overcome for years.

I have learned that different isn't always better; the common route is okay sometimes. One's value does not lay in just being unique. If you make the same choices as someone else, that's okay, too, perhaps even encouraging. It shows that you're at least a little bit normal! But the choices you make DO effect every moment from then on. So it's true that everyday decisions are important to think about, if only for a second.

Before I learned these lessons, I felt that if I wasn't unique, the best at something, or if I was just one the crowd, I would be less valuable to my family and friends. I felt that I needed to stand out and make intentionally life-changing decisions in order to be good enough to love. Crazy, huh? It's sounds strange now, but ten years ago these feelings were me.

Fortunately, high school and college served me well and I finally understand everything a little more clearly. Unfortunately, the magical step into adulthood I had envisioned doesn't actually exist and adjusting to life outside of the school system is a little tricky at times. Nevertheless, I have a healthy understanding of who I am. I no longer find value in only uniqueness, but in finding similarities in my relationships as well.

In the words of Jack Frost:

I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

For better or for worse...

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