One of my favorite poems is Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken. If you haven’t read that, you might wanna scroll down and read it first. Not just for you to get into the vibe of what this post is gonna be about. I mean it’s a really good poem.
But if you love poetry like me, I’m sure you’ve read this one.
The Road Not Taken says so much about life and us. From making decisions to regretting them, the poem just speaks for everybody’s struggle with choosing a road and living up to that choice.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been there and I’ve done that, and until now, every now and then I still think of how it would have been like if I took the other road.
The funny thing about making decisions is that no matter how far we try to foresee the choices laid upon us, it will never be far enough. No matter how much we try to consider the possible consequences we’ll have to face, we can never really know. And so, we just choose what seems to be the best choice based on this limited perception.
Or sometimes, our decision becomes subjected to how we feel. Like when we’re struggling or maybe feel like we’ve struggled through enough, we tend to take the easier way that our choices have to offer. On the other hand, when we feel like taking an adventure, we tend to make wild decisions.
But either way, we end up choosing one; from there, we learn how it goes for us.
However, going through life like that can be a little distressing because we know there’s one side of the picture we’ll never get to see. And for an overthinker like me, that’s the worst thing in the world – knowing that there’s something I don’t know.
Yet that’s how it is and that’s how it will always be.
Now that I think of it, maybe our struggle isn’t really in making decisions but in knowing that we have to live with them because in real life, turning back isn’t always an option.
Although The Road Not Taken is well-known among poem analyses for this kind of depiction, I think the last three lines of the poem somewhat gives a take back.
Notice how the first line was repeated at the end of the poem. This is very significant for me because this reiteration says so much about how we often look back to the decisions we’ve made in the past. However, that missing “yellow” description before the word “wood” also tells us that our perception about them changes over time.
What I’m trying to say is, looking back to those decisions, some details that seem to be so important for us back then, may not be as important now. Because seeing how that decision led us to where we are right now, gives us a different perspective. Whether that decision led us exactly where we thought it would lead us, or we still think the grass is greener on the other side.
But I believe the last two lines of the poem implicitly convey settlement. And I think that’s the most important thing of all. The difference between a resentful life and a Beautiful Life is not the absence of regrets but the absence of settling with it. Because what truly keeps us from living is not the bad decisions we’ve made in the past but not seeing that there are opportunities ahead of us that can still change the course of our lives.
We all have to make decisions and we can’t escape making bad ones, but what we can do is to live with it and move forward. Maybe, someday, we’ll realize we made the right turn.
This is why I love poetry so much – you learn a lot from it!
The Road Not TakenBY ROBERT FROSTTwo roads diverged in a yellow wood,And sorry I could not travel bothAnd be one traveler, long I stoodAnd looked down one as far as I couldTo 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 thereHad worn them really about the same,And both that morning equally layIn 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 sighSomewhere 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.