The Road Not Taken

This is my favourite poem. In fact, I have it printed and pinned to my cork board in my office. I find the last few lines the most inspiring, though there is some speculation that Robert Frost intended this poem to be ironic, not inspirational!

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

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.

Many people mistakenly know this poem as “The Road Less Traveled,” so the last two lines must stand out to other people, too.

For me, the road less travelled implies choosing to follow your own path, defying the norm and being true to yourself, whatever that is.

I can trace my life’s path to several key watershed moments – big decisions I made that changed the course of my life.

One of those decisions occurred in Grade 6 when I chose to go into French immersion. Another happened at the end of high school when I chose my university, program and residence. Another occurred at the end of my undergraduate degree when I chose to take a co-op job in Toronto. And another happened three years ago when I took a job in Calgary.

Each of those decisions led me to the next major watershed, so if I hadn’t made each of those decisions, I wouldn’t live where I do (on the other side of the country), I wouldn’t be in the profession I’m in, I wouldn’t be married to my husband and I wouldn’t have the friends that I do.

It’s amazing to think that just a few key decisions could have such an impact on one’s path in life. Of course, I had no idea how truly significant those choices were at the time.

I nearly took the road most travelled when I chose my career path. Writing was my passion, but as a graduating high school student, I thought I should study something more practical. I thought it’s what my father, an engineer, would want. I thought it’s what my teachers and society expected of me. At the last moment, I changed my university application and entered a writing program. In one form or another, I’ve been working as a professional writer ever since I graduated. I’ve never had any regrets. Rarely do I ever wonder what life would be like if I had chosen differently. If I had gone the other route, I think I’d always wonder “what if….”

For me, choosing the road less travelled means going your own way, and it does make all the difference.

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