Robert Frost wrote a poem entitled The Road Not Taken. It is my favorite poem of all time and a mantra I’ve lived my entire life.
Tonight, being Blogapalooza, our topic for this one-hour exercise is to write about “the road less traveled by and how that made all the difference.”
My mom first introduced me to Robert Frost’s poetry when I was 10 years old. I instantly fell in love with the imagery in the woods; the two roads, equally appealing, but one slightly less traveled which promised some untested adventure, or quiet solitude.
As the 3rd of 4 kids in a house with 3 generations of people, quiet solitude and adventure were enticements I could not resist.
My mom explained that following the same path everyone else followed isn’t necessarily bad, but since life has so much to offer, I should be bold and unafraid to try a path others haven’t chosen.
I took her words to heart and never looked back.
Here are some of the roads less traveled in my life:
1. I was a tomboy who played touch football with my older brothers, took shop class 2 of 3 years I was able to in jr. high.
2. I never really liked Barbie.
3. I loved Lincoln Logs instead of dress-up.
4. I chose to play oboe and piano, when others around me played flute and guitar.
5. In high school, instead of joining poms to be in the marching band (you can’t march an oboe), I opted to twirl a rifle.
6. Even while enduring snide and tormenting comments from my siblings, I opted to join choir in high school. Singing in Europe, at the Medinah Country Club during Christmas season, and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra were just a few of the highlights.
7. Also in high school, I never tried drugs, or cigarettes, or sex – definitely a different road than most of my friends.
8. Not a single person in my graduating class of over 430 people opted to go to Marquette University except me.
9. After college, I chose to go back to school and become a paramedic.
10. I left my “good job with benefits and a pension plan” to become a paramedic for barely above minimum wage.
11. Eventually, I became a firefighter/paramedic, one of only a few women in a very male dominant job.
12. While most coworkers were getting into heavy rescue and hazmat specialties, I was focusing on technical rescue.
13. I married a cop. Nuff said.
14. I left a great career to be a stay-at-home-mom.
15. I became a born-again Christian.
16. I went back to work so that my husband could retire.
17. I became a writer at the age of 45.
These are just a small sampling of the ways I’ve chosen to take a path less traveled. However, these are all figurative examples.
I’ve consistently taken the road, or the path less traveled quite literally when out on a hike.
The memory is a bit vague and blends with other memories, I’m afraid, but I do recall being on Mt. Rainier in 1980. We’d flown to Washington the day Mt. St. Helen’s blew for the 8th time.
The next morning, everything was covered in ash, but my dad decided the family was going to experience Mt. Rainier anyway.
After parking the rental car, we all climbed out (all 6 of us), and set off on a marked, well-worn path.
At some point, I remember finding a fork in the path, and remembering Robert Frost’s words, I chose the one that looked less worn. I came across a bubbling, babbling stream, that danced and skipped over the rocks.
The water was icy cold, but incredibly refreshing as I splashed it on my face. I cannot recall if my family followed me, or came looking for me, but I remember never being afraid – I was exactly where I needed to be.
When traveling, I prefer to go by myself and meet new people along the way. I’ve found some wonderful friends with whom I stay in touch, even though we live thousands of miles apart.
The road not taken is a Sirens’ call to me and has made my life full of experiences and opportunities I never would have had unless I opted for the one less traveled.
…Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost, The Road not Taken (excerpt)
Now, at this time of my life, my guide and road map is God and His Word. My heart still seeks after the road less traveled, but I allow God’s guiding light to lead the way.
Psalm 121:8 (NKJV)8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.
Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
What path do you take in life? Do you prefer the well-worn, tried and true, or do you prefer more adventure and the one less traveled?
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