Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Road Not Taken

I was reading my son's research paper for his English class on Robert Frost's poems (he usually asks me to review his papers...he is actually a good writer...although he would never admit it) and I was struck by The Road Not Taken. It has always been one of my favorite poems and still is. But, tonight...tonight it had special was odd how this poem appeared as I was having one of my what if I was thinking about what my life might be like at 49 if I had taken a different path...taken a different road...

- what if I had not sucked my thumb when I was a baby and my mother had made me use a pacifer...then I wouldn't have needed braces (that I didn't get anyway) and my two front teeth would be straighter (maybe I'll break down at 50 and get those invisaline braces and get those teeth straightened after all.)

- what if I had moved with my family to a nice 3 bedroom beach house on Long Island where we spent the summer months, instead of growing up in the Bronx and sharing a room with my sister all year long...wonder what it would have been like to have my own bedroom? (but then I wouldn't have had my older sister in the room to share things with...or someone to wake up in the middle of the night if I was scared.)

- what if I had selected a different college...gone to a smaller school instead of a big Ivy League school...what if I had gone to a school that was less competitive...would I have become a less competitive person...less stressed out...type B instead of type A (never!)

- what if I had taken that job at the PR agency in New York City instead of moving to New Jersey in the early 80s...wonder if I would have thrived in a more creative environment...wonder if I would have excelled at the agency lifestyle...gotten that VP title (along with the Armani suit...some Armani suits...a whole closet full of Armani suits)

- what if I had married that graphic first real love...the guy I met at my first real job at a real advertising agency...the guy who broke my real heart...the one that is an everyday reminder of why I married my real husband

- what if I had my kids closer in I had planned...three years apart instead of four...then I'd be one year closer to emptynesterness...then I'd have two kids in college next year...not sure I could have dealt with that sticker shock (good thing the plan didn't work out)

- what if I had bought that perfect house the first time around...the one I thought was too expensive at the time...little did I know that several years later I'd be spending more than twice as much for another house. (I do love my house...the second time around I learned from my mistakes...I took the other road and it was definitely worth it)

At 19...I cried about those diverging 29 I struggled 39 it got a little bit easier to make those decisions...and at 49 there's no more looking back. At 49 there's no more time for Robert Frost says in his poem:

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…

. . . Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The Road Not Taken



Anonymous said...

Loved your blog and your what if segment.
Just goes to show, things work out for a reason always, AND, the grass is always greener - - I have a closet full of those Armani suits you mention, a big title, and I ride back in forth to work in a limo now, but I leave my house and family at 5:45am and return at 7:45pm - - those suits cost much more than their written price tags.
All the best,

Anonymous said...

I love that one too, and it becomes more relevant as I grow older - I seem somehow to often be drawn toward the road less travelled, but it wasn't until recent years that I had the guts to both a) travel that road AND b) not feel the overwhelming need to seek approval or apologize for it. Indeed, as you so eloquently put it, it's easier to make those decisions at 39... ahem... plus 1. ;) I'm glad you took the roads you did - while I certainly wish for you that VP title and closet full of fashionable clothes made just for you, if you had that I wouldn't have met you, and I'm glad I know you... director-leveled, SYMS-clothed, and all. :) Best, LR

Kat Wilder said...

Just stumbled upon your blog.
We can always look at back and wonder about the "what ifs," but .. if we like where we are now, somehow the choices we made got us to this point so it's all good.

The bigger question is, especially for us fortysomethings, what choices are ahead of us?