The Road Not Taken

"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."
The Road Not Taken- Robert Frost
When I was in my teens and upset I used to have this image of running half naked under a full moon. The image was simple. Black sky filled with a huge moon and me running full speed. Underneath the moon I'd run and run and run. Eventually I'd collapse against a tree and just howl in anger.

As the years passed I never forgot that image. I suspect that I was influenced by a Stephen King novel or some movie, but I can't really remember. All I know is that for more than 25 years it has been in the back of my head.

Fast forward to the present and I find that maybe I am having more trouble with the idea of turning forty. Scratch that, it is not maybe, I am irritated by it. It is an odd sort of number to me. I don't feel like I am all that old. I certainly don't consider myself to be middle aged and given the longevity of my grandparents I feel confident in saying that I have many more years to go.

But I am frustrated. I am unsatisfied with the current state of affairs. In general I don't spend time comparing myself to others. They are who they are and they have what they have. I am just Jack. Generally that works for me, but not at the moment.

I look around at friends and contemporaries and so many of them seem to have so much more. They don't seem to struggle at all, the hard stuff comes easily and they live the life that I wish that I had.

From an intellectual standpoint I know that this is a silly way to look at things. I haven't any real clue as to what happens behind closed doors. Don't know that they really are any happier than I am. Can't say that they are more or less fulfilled. It is likely that they have some challenges that they are trying to overcome

I know this yet I still find myself shaking my head and thinking that sometimes life is unfair. But the reality is that life is unfair. Sometimes the jackass is the person who gets all of the breaks. Sometimes the jerk wins.

So I find myself grinding my teeth and muttering curses and oaths beneath my breath. I find myself using the heavybag to rid myself of some of the frustration. It helps a little. For a few minutes I don't feel like I am on the outside looking in.

The other night I sat in the dark and stared out into the black. I tried to fall asleep but was unable to. For what felt like hours I sat and wondered if I couldn't just turn off my brain. It didn't work.

Wandered over to the computer and tried to find a distraction. I don't know if it did or exhaustion is to blame, but I fell asleep and then woke up with a mouthful of keyboard.

Most days I don't spend much if any time looking back upon the road not taken. I can't go back, what is done is done. But at the moment I am terribly unhappy with that phrase. Maybe we all have to live with our mistakes. Maybe we have to accept that we made them, but I don't have to pretend that I can't change them. I don't have to accept that life can only be lived in one manner and one way.

And I won't. I am too young, too stubborn and too much of a dreamer. Right now I am working on the plan because I have to believe that it will work. Can't conceive that it won't. Right now I am working on today because I don't know if someday is ever going to come, but I sure hope that it does.

Thus ends the sad post. With any luck the next one will be happier.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes Jack, I can't work out if your posts are 'you' or your fiction. The beauty of relative anonimity, hey?

Anyway, if this is something of you, it's a shame to see you in a down place. But we all have these moments, and you know that this is true.

It is so trite to say 'never look back' and 'what's done is done' - but I guess these phrases are around for a reason. Still, they're not always comforting to hear.

My problem is that I like to fix all problems for everyone, if I can. I feel responsible for making people feel better about whatever the situation is that they're in. I did it just after reading your post - I wanted to make you feel better - how ridiculous is that?!

But, I can't. I don't know what you're feeling down about and I doubt that I could solve all your problems. But the thought is there - if I could, I would.

It might help to know that. And if it doesn't well - that's my problem, not yours!

Take care, and as we say here in the UK - 'Chin up!'


Anonymous said...

For some reason, I read "half naked under a full moon" as "half naked and mooning" which brought quite a different picture to my mind.

Ayrdale said...

Hi Jack.
I know exactly what you mean.
Im 20 years older than you, and am very aware of the wrong path taken, the opportunities missed.
Take care, remember that the early morning hours are bleaker because of simple neurochemistry of serontonin, and that the bleakness lessens...
Keep blogging, it's a great release, keep pouring it out...

Jack Steiner said...

Hi Rachel,

All of my posts are interspersed with fact and fiction. It is one of those little things that I do. I appreciate the kind words.


Nah, the frog suit is with me. ;)


Blogging is my therapy.

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