Social Question

bob_'s avatar

Tell us about your "road not taken"?

Asked by bob_ (20619points) 1 month ago

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by” <—good thing Robert Frost was born in the pre-Google Maps days, huh?

Have you ever had to make such a decision in your life? What did it involve? Think about it much? If you had taken the other road, how do you imagine it might have gone?

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26 Answers

Demosthenes's avatar

It’s a good question (which is why you’ve maybe received so many GQs and no answers yet) but looking back on my life it’s clear that I mostly took the obvious road that had been laid out for me, with the other choice not really being a choice at all. There haven’t been many crucial junctures in my life. Maybe that’s part of the problem. The college I chose to attend was a given, what I chose to study couldn’t have been anything else. I suppose the path I’m on now is a bit controversial (pursuing a PhD). I guess I could’ve chosen to work in tech after college like many of my friends did and I could be living in some apartment in SF paying $3000 a month for a cramped studio and mostly working from home. I don’t think I would be better off having made that choice, though. It’s not all about money for me.

elbanditoroso's avatar

There have been different variants of this question in the past.

My primary ‘road not taken’ was that I should have married ‘Person A’ instead of ‘Person B’. Person B was a mistake and I should have seen it – but I was young and stupid back then.

mazingerz88's avatar

Road not taken as in consciously not taking it by choice for reasons both regrettable and dumb. Learning stock investing in 2000 when most of my co-workers were doing it. I could imagine making some profit from it.

ucancallme_Al's avatar

The sat nav broke…shit happens.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I often think about my choices and how life could have been different. It only hurts occasionally now but you can’t go back in time.

In my alternate world, similar to @elbanditoroso, I married a different man, we had lots of babies and were very happy in an upscale life.

He and I are still friends, as we both ended up in difficult marriages and both chose to have no children with our current spouses for similar reasons, that they wouldn’t be good parents/ partners in that endeavor.

Neither of us believes in divorce so we’re currently serving life sentences for poor choices.

Jeruba's avatar

Interesting commentary on this well-known poem right here:

https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2015/09/11/the-most-misread-poem-in-america/

It presents a case that the poem is not about the merits of choosing to do one’s own thing, as it is popularly understood, but rather that it anticipates a backward look at some time in the far future, ”with a sigh,” claiming that one’s fate was the result of a considered choice and not just random happenstance or forces beyond one’s control.

I did have a major juncture in my life, when I chose to leave my native territory and move west for love of a Californian. When I think of the path I didn’t take, I often wish I had waited a little longer to decide. One mistake can darken your whole life.

The cover of fallen yellow leaves on both roads creates an illusion of untrampled freshness, whereas both ways are actually worn “about the same.” A few steps this way or that, and the distance between the roads widens into a huge, unbridgeable gap.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Bob!!!!!!!!! Hi!!!!

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Jeruba Lovely phrasing.

“The cover of fallen yellow leaves on both roads creates an illusion of untrampled freshness, whereas both ways are actually worn “about the same.” A few steps this way or that, and the distance between the roads widens into a huge, unbridgeable gap.”

This is so true. Part of me knows that the man I choose to romanticize is certainly just a fallible human, like my husband. We fought all the time and he was super flirty, so deep down I suspect life in my alternate world would be just as hard but in different ways.

canidmajor's avatar

I’ve had a few, as I’m sure we all have, but my big one, which was really much “less traveled” was pursuing, through social, familial, and medical obstacles, the having of my child in the 80s. I literally (I use the word correctly, I have tried) cannot imagine what my life would have been like had I not done that, as so many decisions and events, (all of them in fact) transpired because of having that child.

kneesox's avatar

Rereading the poem after a long time, it strikes me that the title is “The Road Not Taken,” but the poem is actually about the road that WAS taken. So it’s a tricky title, right? It sounds like the speaker wishes he had taken the other one.

@bob_, what’s your road not taken?

janbb's avatar

I guess mine was the road taken – or at least the road taken by my friend Wendy. We were hitchhiking in England one summer and wanted to leave a crummy town. There was a fork in the road and she took one side to hitch and I took the other. She called me over because some guys had stopped for her and we went in their car back to a parent’s house for the night. Subsequently, I married the driver of that car and was married to him for 40 years. I don’t know where the other road would have led me to.

filmfann's avatar

I have a good life right now.
When I think with regret about some opportunities I avoided, I stop and think about how that would have changed my life, and where I am now, and the affect it would have on my friends.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That was a fabulous story @janbb.

chyna's avatar

All great stories! You all bring it to life, too.

canidmajor's avatar

Where’s your story, @chyna?

chyna's avatar

I was 19 years old, going to college and still living with my mom. We didn’t get along then, and one day got in a big fight so I “ran away from home” as the incident is known as by family. I had a cloth top two seater MGB and I took off from WV to Oklahoma by myself. I had 40.00 to my name and a charge card. At one point I pulled over to a rest stop to sleep. A truck driver came over and beat on my windshield. He told me I could come and sleep in his cab. No thanks. He left and came back again in about 15 minutes with the same request because he had air conditioning in the truck. I left at that point. I see all these shows about innocent naive girls going off with people they think are trustworthy. I could’ve been on Dateline.
Ok, mine wasn’t a fun, love story. Sorry.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Smart girl.

lastexit's avatar

My husband was an alcoholic. After becoming engaged to him I realized that he drank too much. After a particularly disgusting incident at a restaurant I decided I was going to break off the engagement. The next day I confided my plans to an older cousin. He talked me out of it, saying that my husband would change after we were married. Long story short, he didn’t. After two separations and a mostly dysfunctional marriage, my husband got the help he needed. I’ve always wondered how my life would have been different had I broken off the engagement.

lastexit's avatar

Of course it could have gone worse, it wasn’t all bad, but somehow I doubt it. I was young, naive and trusting.

Jeruba's avatar

@lastexit, I found out after 43 years that I was still too naive and trusting. I just wasn’t young any more.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Looking back, my entire life was made up of unconventional decisions. Finding Fluther instead of staying on Y!A, ditching a long time friend for the peace of mind, choosing to stay in my current workplace instead of finding another job, choosing to stick to my thesis idea instead of listening to the professors to change to a more “conventional” topics, sticking to my comic…

And now here I am. I don’t think I regret most choices.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I wanted very much to come out of the closet as a teenager, but my dad made it clear I would be thrown out of the house. I stayed in the closet. Some good came of that, but there was so much misery. For what it’s worth, my father disowned me when I did come out, so I know he meant it.

Twice in my life I was given the opportunity to pursue a PhD, but I didn’t. Now I work in a helping profession and get to watch people recover their lives.

JLeslie's avatar

I didn’t have children. I could have done another IVF or IUI cycle or adopted, but I didn’t. I blame myself and the doctors.

The doctors screwed up things in the years I tried and I just didn’t have the perseverance to endure more. Screwed up an ultrasound, didn’t listen to me when I had an allergic reaction to a drug (that was later removed from the market due to reactions) didn’t tell me I would likely miss three cycles if I tried a particular drug. Another was they weren’t doing surrogacy at the place I was recommended to at one point, but then later they were but I had already moved away, and I just couldn’t take the near misses anymore. Not after dealing with another medical issue with gross incompetence from the medical establishment and years of pain, misery, and anguish.

Also, it was a few years after doing some extreme measures that I really learned a lot about how common miscarriages are and I blame doctors, pro-lifers, and the education system for women not knowing.

I mostly blame myself though. I know complained a lot about others above, but other people somehow wind up with babies.

It’s a mixed bag. I think we would have been good parents. Right now in my 50’s I appreciate not have the worry or stress that can come with having kids (actually my first pregnancy I was 27, so most likely my children would be out of the house if that pregnancy had worked). I do think about the future and how it would be nice to have kids who would be there as I age. A lot of people say you can’t count on your kids being there. I think usually at least one of them takes on responsibility of at least helping when it’s very necessary. I always thought I would have 4 children. Maybe I would have adjusted the number once I was a mother.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie It’s never too late to be a foster parent. Any child would be blessed to have you as a guide in life. Hugs.

bob_'s avatar

My most distinct bifurcation was my decision to stay in my country to attend college. I had been accepted at an American university, with a partial scholarship, but at the last minute opted to stay. No regrets, even if the motivations for that decision ultimately changed.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

I just roll with the flow. Always have always will. What, me worry?

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