Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Road Not Taken

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 of 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.
Robert Frost

Out of all the poems I've read so far, this is undoubtedly my favourite. I'm sure many of you would recognise this (Form 4 Selected Poems and Short Stories) and if you don't, well now you do. Studying this during English Literature, I just took notes and I didn't really give any deep thought to this prose other than the fact that I liked the meaning behind it. However, I've given it much thought over the week as I was reflecting my whole year of learning in school.

In life, we are often bombarded with decisions day after day. It's the nasty part about growing up. To be honest, I don't like making decisions. It could be because if mistakes happened, it would be all my fault. It's always easier to pin the blame on someone else, isn't it? But as we mature, we have no choice but to face those paths and CHOOSE.

Choosing mindless things (bananas or oranges?) aren't the decisions which cause us the headaches. It's those decisions where risks are involved and your livelihood is at stake which keeps us up awake till the wee hours of the morning. And the worst thing is when the decision is made, you're left wondering whether you'll regret it sometime later. Two such incidents were ones which cause me the exact same dilemma this year. One ended on a high note, one, not so high. The first of course was the Taylor's Debate. I admit that I was reluctant to join as I know that being in the debate team requires lots of sacrifice and yes, I was afraid my studies would suffer. I remember clearly asking my mum whether I should go for it and she said, "It's up to you, it's your decision". It was a risk, definitely but one I have prayed about and having the peace to undertake it, took it. Another such one was the prefect campaigning. I have written about it in my older post and hence shall not waste time elaborating here.

We cannot deny that some decisions are just tough, especially those to do with our moral conscience. I liked what the poet did, in that he took the one less traveled by. Few people have the guts to do such a thing as what a risk it would bring. Making a stand, declaring what you believe in, exposing yourself to ridicule and mockery.... I salute you who chose it. I try my best, with God as my strength to do it and though at times I fail, I get up and try again. Because I know that what is right may not be popular and what is popular may not be right.

And what I love best about this poem is that there is no sense of regret. Sure, we might wonder what would have happened should we choose the other path but ultimately, the decision is made. Don't waste time focusing on what could have been done, focus on what has been done and take it from there. So no, I do not regret a single thing and if I were to live out my year again, I'd do the same thing.

Ask yourself, would you?

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