- Two paths 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;
Ever felt like you’re just wandering aimlessly through life? Ever wish someone would just show you the way? Tell you what you should do next?
- 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,
Having a bugger of a time figuring it out yourself, doesn’t it just make sense to find a model–someone you know and respect? Someone whose life you can, with good conscious (hell maybe even with conviction), emulate? What’s the harm in that?
- And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
Interestingly, Joseph Campbell has something to say about just this type of conundrum. From, Reflections on the Art of Living, A Joseph Campbell Companion:
In the story of Sir Galahad, the knights agree to go on a quest, but thinking it would be a disgrace to go forth in a group, each “entered into the forest, at one point or another, there where they saw it to be thickest, all in those places where they found no way or path.”
Where there is a way or a path, it’s someones else’s way. Each knight enters the forest at the most mysterious point and follows his own intuition. What each brings forth is what never before was on land or sea: the fulfillment of his unique potentialities, which are different from anybody else’s. All you get on your life way are little clues.
In that wonderful story, when any knight sees the trail of another, thinks he’s getting there, and starts to follow the other’s track, he goes astray entirely.
- 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.
Of course, thanks to Robert Frost, you knew how this post would end almost even before it began–didn’t you?
But it still begs the question: Do you buy it?
Does this ring true for you? Can you relate? Were there ever times in your life where you had the courage to enter the forest at its darkest and most mysterious, trusting in only your wits, luck and gut.
What happened? Did you then bring forth what has never before been seen on land or sea? Or did you go crying back to mommy and daddy with your knees all scraped up?