Take the Road Less Traveled
by Robert Frost
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’s poem really resonates with me. I have spent a lifetime doing what others thought was risky, foolish, or just the wrong path for me. But I have always listened to my heart, and it has never led me astray. In fact, I have found happiness in many ways because of the choices I’ve made with my heart. So when my heart says that I don’t want kids – well, that just has to be good enough for the people around me.
My very first foray "into the rough" was my choice of colleges. I decided to go to a small, liberal arts women’s college in rural upstate New York. My friends thought I was nuts! My family thought I was making a huge mistake too. But I knew it was the right fit for me, and I applied. I have never looked back, and I have never regretted it.
Then, when it came time to decide on my major, my heart was leading me towards history. I loved studying the past, learning about how people lived and how everything in history is interconnected and interwoven. But when I declared my major, my family again thought I was losing it. "What on earth are you going to do with a degree in history?" I heard, over and over again. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure, but I had faith that I would figure it out.
One day over Christmas break in my junior year, I fell in love with museums. And it all clicked. THAT was what I wanted to do! All of my interests – history, writing, telling stories – converged in one profession. My favorite professor seemed...concerned about my decision. "If that’s what you really want," he said. I learned later that he had hoped I would follow in his footsteps and become a professor, but that was not for me. I was disappointed in his reaction, but pressed forward with my grad school application anyway. As it turns out, I have a wonderful career doing what I love, and I met my husband at grad school.
My decision to remain child free has probably been the biggest trek I’ve taken "off the beaten path." Thankfully my husband and I are in agreement on this key issue in our marriage. But as I approach 30, most of my friends are settling down and starting families. As you know, it is extremely difficult to express your feelings against motherhood to a friend who has just given birth.
Most of the people who are closest to me have accepted my decision and have stopped bringing it up. But there are some hold-outs who keep the pressure cooker on high, asking when we’re going to have a baby.
And it’s times like that when Robert Frost’s poem echoes in my head.
I am proud to have taken the road less traveled by. And in my case, it really has made all the difference.
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