Can you recall a time in your life that you woke up and decided to fundamentally change a direction in your life in some way? Was it from a dream, a real experience, or was it after several experiences that so affected you that you finally awakened and told yourself no more! Did something within you “click”, and you were able to see things from a different perspective, and that maybe you now needed something different or something more than what you were getting? Was it a friend that gave you some feedback, was it at some social function that created a dissonance between what others thought and what you yourself thought that seeded an idea that there was something you wanted to do differently, thus started you on a journey for looking at things differently and changing your current orientation? Commonly our observance of others’ ordeals often triggers something within us to make sure that we do not travel down a similar path or conversely they show us a way that we would like to emulate.
I know that many might use examples often found within their own families growing up that might make them think differently with having both positive and negative examples to draw from. The lifetime built upon someone Else’s dreams can be a hard pill to swallow when they later reflect on their success of a notion that was not theirs in the first place. I have seen many examples of parents indoctrinating their children with ideas of the direction they should take in their own lives without any consideration as to what the child themselves may wish to aspire to. I think in contrast it is noble when parents inspire their children by way of example, unlike that of a prescribed directive spoon fed to them day in and day out. This pontificating can lead to some serious issues as the children grow up with unrealized dreams of their own. Those who do not break free from its grasp may lead lives fulfilling the dreams of their families, yet failing to meet the potentials originating from within them.
As Robert Frost wrote in The Road Not Taken
Two 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.
I do think that this has been misinterpreted as Frost himself has shed some light on his work in letters and correspondence to others.
The last lines “I took the one less traveled by / And that has made all the difference” are often cited as emblematic of America’s individualist spirit of adventure, in a reading that assumes they are to be taken literally. This is doubtful: whatever difference the choice might have made, it was not made by a discerned difference between the two paths that opened up before the traveler. The speaker admits in the second and third stanzas that both paths may be equally worn and equally leaf-covered, and it is only in his future recollection that he will call one of the two roads, the one he took, “less traveled by.”
The “sigh” can be interpreted as one of regret or of self-satisfaction; in either case, the irony lies in the distance between what the speaker has just told us about the roads’ similarity and what his or her later claims will be. Frost might also have intended a personal irony: in a 1925 letter to Crystine Yates of Dickson, Tennessee, asking about the sigh, Frost replied, “It was my rather private jest at the expense of those who might think I would yet live to be sorry for the way I had taken in life.”
When you do not have much of a support group, when others around you pay little attention to you, and you have questions on what would be a good direction for you to pursue, than you must primarily rely on your own resources and experience with the world, thus, trial and error may play a large part in your decision-making. Your talents and opportunities are predicated on what you have developed, what you have chosen to concentrate on which is also a starting point, but my focus is on those particular areas that you have not quite figured out for yourself, those areas that you do not have much experience in, or that what you once thought of as a sound path, has now been altered by a new perspective.
I can certainly remember times that struck a chord within me to change my aspect. I think that maybe at times the persuasive forces that refocused my energies to gravitate towards these redefined goals because of my observations, or because of the feedback that others had given me was a metaphorical crossroad materializing before me. I learned in part by the trial and error experiences in the social realms, an area I still have not even closely mastered to this day. By that I mean that there are many situations that still elude me, as I continue to meet people who never stop surprising me with their behavior.
The question that keeps coming back to me is the kind of impression that is left upon me? The deeper the impression of an event in your life, the more attention you give to it. I like the song by INXS Don’t Change as it reminds me of a fresh start when pursuing new venues. Our paths we choose are up to us. The power of choice is within us. What’s yours?