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 marked 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 was a freshman in high school when I first read Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken”. While finding it interesting, I can’t say that it evoked much feeling in me. Then again at the age of 14, I hadn’t found myself at a crossroads requiring a decision that would affect the rest of my life. Throughout the years, I’ve re-read this poem many times and it has conjured up a myriad of feelings depending upon where I found myself in my life and how I felt about where I was.
Sometimes I thought that I had taken that less traveled road and I was proud of myself for that. Fast-forward to another moment in time, and that less traveled road found me feeling lonely and isolated. Then there were all the times that I felt like I had traveled the well-worn path along with the masses and that belief left me feeling bored and not at all unique.
Recently I began to ask a different question when thinking about this poem and the proverbial “road not taken”. What if there are no un-taken roads? What if we manage to take each of the roads instead of choosing only one? How is that possible? It may be possible if the theory of parallel lives is true.
For a long time I’ve sensed that there is more to our existence and reality than what we can gather from our five senses. It has seemed to me that our relatively short time here on Earth, even if you live to an old age, is minuscule compared to the age of the universe. Why, then, would we only have 40, 50, 80 years of consciousness and then either nothing or an eternity of bliss or anguish? It doesn’t make sense to me.
Therefore, I’ve thought that the idea of reincarnation makes sense. I tend to believe that we keep learning and growing after our life on Earth ends. Whether that means coming back to Earth or learning some other way, I don’t know. I just know that I don’t believe in a “one-shot, you’re in Heaven, Hell or nothingness” approach to the afterlife.
Even this has not completely satisfied me when I think about all the “missed” opportunities within one lifetime. So, what if whenever we come to one of those “fork in the road” decisions, one part of us chooses one path and somewhere in a parallel universe, the other one of us goes down the other path? Paths then fork again and again with parallel lives having all kinds of experiences all benefiting the enlightenment of the soul.
Have you ever wondered how your life would have been different had you made a different decision? What if you had chosen this person instead of that one? What if you had majored in college in something you really wanted instead of what you thought would get you a job? What if? What if?”
What if the only choice is which lifetime you consciously remember?