Sunday, March 2, 2014

Alternatives


The Road Not Taken
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.

I had a restless night of tossing and turning, packed with rather unsettling dreams. While I am, by no stretch of the imagination, a "morning person", I was rather happy to see the light outside my window this day.

After feeding the cats, loading up the dishwasher, eating breakfast, taking a shower, loading up the washing machine and then obtaining a Dunkin' Donuts ice coffee, I opened up this here blog o' mine and started ruminating about what last night meant. Also whether or not I should invest in some "sleep aids". My brain refuses to settle down these days at bed time and it's starting to drive me "round the bend".

For you see, last night's dreams were about choices made, alternative paths selected and various and sundry "might have beens" had I made one choice as opposed to another. Which led me to look up that Robert Frost poem you see above.

Now I also did a little research into said poem. Because for the first time in a number of years, I actually read it and thought about it. There were any number of smarmy, academics attempting to enlighten me with their "correct" version of what the poem actually means. I almost scrapped the idea of using this particular Frost poem, when it hit me.

Poetry is an art form. Like all art forms the artist may have had something in mind when they produced the piece. Which is all well and good. However, the impact art has on a viewer, listener or reader (as the case may be) may be totally different than what the artist intended.

Bottom line, I don't care what the snooty academics think the poem means. I know what it means to me. And that's all that really matters.

All that being said, we all make choices in life. Sometimes we are presented with a number of alternatives and we can only pick one. Sometimes the alternatives are chosen for us. No matter which, it changes the path we take through life. Two paths, nothing to choose between them, but you can only pick one.

So we wind up someplace down the road and sometimes we look back and wonder what things might have been like had we chosen differently.

That's what those dreams were about. I dreamt that I had done things differently in the past. And the choices I made were terrible, absolutely terrible. Everything I have now was gone. Everything was different and not in a good way.

Of course, they were "only" dreams. I'm sure the smarmy academics have any number of theories and explanations for dreams. I'm quite sure they are all completely full of shite. (The academics that is.) I know what my dreams mean. I saw "what might have been" and I can tell you, it wasn't good.

I am content with my lot in life. I would not go back and change one single thing. I am comfortable with who I am. And I think that's a good thing.

16 comments:

  1. Also whether or not I should invest in some "sleep aids".

    No, don't do that. Invest in some punctuation aids, instead. (-1)

    In other news... I play the what-if game sometimes and the possible outcomes, as gamed, are nearly always worse than my current reality. Like you, I generally like my lot in life and I don't really think I'd change a thing, even if I could. Well, mebbe one thing. ;-)

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    1. Yeah, I get you on the one thing.

      (I also knew that I'd get a reaction vis a vis the punctuation thing. I'll never change. It's the rebel in me.)

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    2. I'll never change. It's the rebel in me.

      A rebel without a clause.

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  2. At a certain time in life I think we all have "What If" thoughts . . . especially at night . . . in the quiet darkness. Our brains start shouting thoughts at us.
    I believe that this is a function of life and awareness, knowing that the end is well within our reach and what did I do that made a difference.
    I'm on my third wife. I'm estranged from my natural children/grandchildren. My brother and I don't talk.
    On the other hand . . . I am happily married. I do have 8 step-grandchildren, whom I love beyond measure. I'm financially secure. I've survived
    heart attacks and cancer. I'm still mobile and can play the drums. What's not to like?
    Once read of a fighter pilot who was shot down over the Pacific and drifted for a couple days in his life raft. He spent the time pondering his life and
    came to the conclusion that "The meaning of life is whatever you make of it."

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  3. I take sleep aids, or else I don't sleep.

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    1. I may have to start. I've been doing a lot of that "not sleeping" thing lately.

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  4. That's as well said as any I've ever read, Sarge. Well done!

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    1. That's a huge compliment coming from you Rev, thanks!

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  5. +1 Rev. Paul
    I take a formula of Valerian, Chamomile, and Melatonin washed down with a small glass of wine. Stops the racing thoughts and I sleep for about five hours. Dreams? Six years out of the business I'm still selling cars in my sleep.

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    1. Interesting combination. I may have to give that a shot. Racing thoughts, check. Remembering the old job, check.

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  6. What ifs... We can ALL drive ourselves nuts with them... sigh

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    1. And I have at times, even though I know better!

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  7. I'm finally able to comment...
    That's what I dislike about the iPhone.
    I have yet to determine how I might comment on blog posts I've read with the darn thing.
    On the plus side, it gives me ample time to rethink or even totally forget what I was going to say.
    Heck... using the keyboard on it gives ample time to forget what I was going to say.
    I'm sure it was something to do with your post... more specifically falling asleep.

    All I can think of now is I usually fall asleep almost immediately and sleep straight through for about seven hours.
    That would mean, of course, that I have nothing bothering me.
    I only hope it isn't because I'm a sociopath.

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    1. I long for the days when I could fall asleep immediately and log at least seven hours. Now I'm lucky if I'm asleep within an hour of my head hitting the pillow and (if I have to get up the next day) I'm awake one to two hours before the alarm goes off. Makes for long, very long days.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)