I often wonder if I am the only person who looks back and wonders what would have happened with my life if I had made different choices with my university, the cities I lived in, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, and the friendships strengthened and those lost. I don’t regret the choices I’ve made as often they were the best choices at the time but curiosity often makes me wonder about these things during more reflective moments.
While I don’t look back and sigh, nor can I particularly identify one particular life-altering choice, I think The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost neatly summarises the feeling of choosing between two good options and in retrospect, trying to justify the choice to yourself.
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 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