" Two roads diverged in a yellow wood..." If there is a poet who speaks to me, it is Robert Frost. In spite of being an English Lit major in college I find most poetry tedious and pretentious. But that's a subject for another time. Today I want to reflect on my life using "The Road not Taken" as a jumping off point. Frost's poem ends with "...and that has made all the difference." I have always taken that to mean he likes where he has wound up or at least believes he made the right choice when he "took the one less traveled." But there is ambiguity in that line. We do not know for certain that that is what he means.
My thoughts about my life as I reflect on this poem are that I did not choose any road. I have gone through life rather like a hitchhiker who doesn't care where he goes but must keep traveling. I didn't choose a career at Caterpillar. I took a job there because it best suited my needs at the time. I needed to work nights so I could go to school during the day to get that degree in English Literature and Cat offered better pay than anyone else. I became an English Lit major because first chemistry and then religion didn't work out. I never "chose" to fall in love; it was something that happened when it happened and was literally beyond my control.
I'm not sure there is a lesson here, or if there is, if it is one I should be passing on. The consensus seems to be that we are not supposed to just let life happen to us. We tend to, or at least claim to, admire the person who chooses the road less traveled. The "rugged individual" is an American icon. We all like to think we are unique and in charge of our destinies. Another poet cried out, "I am the master of my fate! I am the captain of my soul!" I don't know if he believed that or just wished it were so. The cynical part of me thinks that being one of several hundred million "unique" individuals is something of an oxymoron. I know that I for one have never been that rugged individual, master, or captain. But, my journey along the road more traveled has been largely a pleasant one with good companions and plenty to see along the way. For me that is enough.