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The Road Not Taken

Earlier this week during my English class we discussed Robert Frost’s famous poem “The Road Not Taken,” and the discussion in my class about this particular poem was interesting to the point where I’m still thinking about it days later.

If you’re unfamiliar with this poem, or it’s just been a while since you’ve read it, click here to refresh your memory (I could easily copy it to my blog, but then I’d have to go through the hoops of making sure it’s cited properly and everything, so linking to it seems like a better and easier solution.)

During the in class discussion, I realized how much this particular work directly relates to my life right now… or at least in some interpretations how it relates to my situation.

One possible reading shows that it’s about a guy who is recalling a particular time in life where a major decision needed to be made, and that the result of the particular decision made all the difference in how his life would turn out.

Other interpretations exist, but I really like this version (at least right now) because it’s similar to how I view my decision to go back to school this year. I haven’t really reached the crossroads point yet, since I’m still comfortable at my current job, but at the end of the program, I’ll be certified to teach and will take a new path in my journey of life.

Some days I’ve regretted this decision to go back, especially when I started calculating the cost and the amount of free time I’d be giving up to do homework, but I think the end payoff of being in a career that is fulfilling will be worth the time and money I’m spending in the end.

One of the hardest parts in the whole time sacrifice is that when I initially completed my undergrad 7 years ago, I often felt like I had no time to myself or to spend with friends as I always took a full course load of 15-18 credits every semester, worked 34-37 hours a week, had to deal with a 20-60 minute commute (each way) to school/work, and had obligations with my sorority for any surplus free time my schedule allotted.

I realize now that I was simply trying to do too much, resulting in driving myself crazy and not ever having a real chance to relax or just breathe without feeling like it was a waste of time. If given the opportunity, I wouldn’t go back and redo my undergrad years, but I would maybe try to have found a way to enjoy the limited free time I had available back then.

This time around, my school schedule isn’t so intense, but I’m still working a full-time job, and have the added bonus of a group of friends that I actually have many things in common with and want to spend time with them.

I learned a long time ago that time management has never been my best skill, at least when it comes to managing my free time, so I’ve been trying different methods of scheduling myself for free time, and have been more willing to be spontaneous and go out after work if I know the alternative would be to go home and probably just go to bed instead of doing homework anyway. Daylight savings time was definitely my friend this past weekend, and I maximized that extra hour by staying for an extra game during a board game day I attended, and was able to set my alarm for an hour earlier the next morning to finish homework I’d planned on taking care of the previous evening.

Sorry for losing my train of thought here– I promise I had the best intentions of actually discussing life choices and the whole idea of “the road less traveled/not taken,” but in a way my current back-to-school situation is giving me a chance to experience that other path and make decisions that I hope will cause more positives in my future.

I still wouldn’t ask for a redo, but am definitely using those past life lessons to make better (for me) decisions now.

Have you ever applied this poem to your life, or looked at the paths you’ve taken thus far and reflected on what would have been different if you’d made other choices along the way?

Responses (2)

  1. joe says:

    I took the one less traveled by, and it has made all the difference. This line has applied to my life too many times to count. And when you talk about friends you actually *want* to spend time with, I wouldn’t have raised a scene if you name-dropped me 😉

  2. JT says:

    Looking back and your life and wondering at how much you’ve grown, that’s something all of us do if we’re the least bit reflective. How have you noticed yourself changed as a student, and as a person, now that you’re seven years older than your undergrad self, perhaps weathered in some ways by the work force and shaped by the way your world has changed?

    I’m something of a perpetual student. After my first undergrad, I’ve twice chosen to leave the work force and focus full-time on school. It’s an enviable position to be able to do so, to utterly devote yourself for a time to the task at-hand, and appreciate the joint efforts of discipline and freedom as they work their art upon you. This is a unique time in your life – you may not be able to do this again. Many never get to do this once.

    For Frost’s poem, I wonder how much of it has to do with the changes that are self-directed, and the need to surrender to the universe’s own chaos from time to time as a matter of trust rather than as whim.

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