Robert Frost’s A Road Not Taken is a mystery to poets and critics alike. To author, David Orr, Frost’s poem is, ” a commentary on the self-deception we practice when constructing the story of our own lives.”
And I think that could be true.
For we all practice self-deception of one sort or another in order to stay with our significant other. We re-write the stories we tell ourselves about why we love, why we stay, who we love and the games they play in order to make the story comfortable to us. We all make up stories which allow us to go on with our lives. “He won’t hit me again”, “He’ll fall in love with me again”, “We can survive this,” are the words some say in attempt to change the storyline and make it “fit” into how we imagine the story of our lives should go.
In this vein, I suspect if you asked most men when they hear the words ” The Road Not Taken” they would say it takes them back to the women who have inhabited their lives. For it seems to me, that men are often following that Road Not Taken back to the past; wondering if Anna would have been a better lover, if he would have had more in common with Jane at this point in his life and if Jennifer would have been a better mother. Often, it appears to me that men “regret” losing the woman on whose path they did not travel, while women “what if” or “if only” the road they chose to take. Men seem to let go of their culpability in the demise of a relationship while women, well we, “if only” ourselves to death. “If only I was thinner I could still be married to him.”
Me, I am trying to take a fresh approach on Frost. I think that what he meant was that we as people are altered with every decision we make when we step onto one road and leave one behind. As a result we need to make decisions that will bring us to our best and true self. And that whatever road we have taken we must make it the best road for us. One full of life. One full of hope. One of love, compassion and grace. We can’t turn around and take the “other” road but we can enjoy the one we are on. So today, I am going to take hard,strong, meaningful steps on my path. I will leave the tip-toeing around for another day.