Not for the chronically lost

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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;

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,

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.

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

I vividly recall hearing this poem sometime in my primary years. Like most of the world (rather bold statement I know) I thought It was about finding your own path, feeding your own curiosities and a stand against following the crowd. I was fiercely drawn to this poem, but not because of the latter; on the contrary, I shied away from its powers of persuasion, intimidated by such can-do self assertion - No , I loved this poem because of its ability to transfix you to the wood, surrounded by strong fruitful colours and the tranquility of nature. I resisted my young interpretations of the poem and it was only as I grew up that I began to REALLY read the words by Robert Frost. Was he actually pushing us to take the less popular path ( its not how Id pick a restaurant) or rather was he reminding us that the paths are of equal value and opportunity and how we tread on them is what makes the difference? Rather than taking the road less travelled, pick a road, any road and embrace the journey. For someone who deliberates obsessively this realisation came as a gift. The pressure to ‘get it right’ or do the ‘done’ thing was gradually lifting.

Last weeks challenge asked us to Take a different route to work, to break lose of our chains and the autopilot commute. For someone as directionally challenged (believe it or not its a thing) as I am, changing my learned path to anywhere comes with consequence - I WILL GET LOST. Having finally caved to this fact I am Shameless to admit I have no idea about the four cardinal directions and despite finding a compass utterly beautiful I place no value on its utility other than this aesthetic pleasure. Thankfully my timetable played the game for me and forced a new route everyday as I was prepping for a new job. Making use of a taxi, a train, a car, a van and my legs I found myself travelling to Newcastle - where I’d never been before, and back again. For the next two days I travelled to and from a brand new work location. When taking the bus I gave myself extra time so that I could read a novel, when in the car I turned up the music so I could sing at the top of my lungs. The taxi man laughed when I scrambled to his car after sleeping through my alarm, and we both howled at my constant need to thank him ‘for saving my life’(a little dramatic). Being reunited with an old boss and friend made life just that little bit sweeter and we treated our selves to some wine and thai food after a days graft. My sat Nav remained tightly fitted to my car window when finding my way to my new office but I did make a conscious effort to look at my surroundings and discovered things in places that I never knew was there before. I also left a little bit earlier than necessary, giving myself time to get lost and maybe even enjoy it if I do.

The paths you choose don't determine your success, just like owning expensive camera equipment doesn't make you a professional photographer and nor should a failure be the result of a wrong choice. Tread carefully and embrace the journey for someday you might arrive at crossroads and then you would be really flummoxed.

Sarah-Kate Goodwin

A Great Wake Up Champion!. A Chronically indecisive worrier. A Painfully forgetful dreamer. A self deprecating over thinker and a rather untidy perfectionist, but with all the luck of The Irish and A Champion all the same!


Go to the profile of Vanessa
over 5 years ago
Sarah-Kate, I loved this - not only did you quote my favourite poet but you gave a whole new slant to his poem that has left me shaking my head in wonder. Thank you for a truly "wake up" moment!
Go to the profile of Jacqui
over 5 years ago
Great post. Loved the energy and what you say is so true!
Go to the profile of Sarah-Kate Goodwin
over 5 years ago
Every time I read this poem I find a new interpretation Vanessa, it has remained a favourite of mine for years. xx
Thanks Jacqui, totally knackered this week so happy to hear there is some energy going somewhere :) xxx
Go to the profile of Fiona Dolben
over 5 years ago
Lovely post - lovely poem really enjoyed this x