Friday, June 17, 2011

Two Roads

As most of you know, I've found myself at quite the crossroads lately. On August 31, my lease in Seattle is up, and on September 1, all of my summer teaching contracts will end.

At first, this seemed to me the perfect opportunity to go ahead and head back east. My plan was to move to DC as soon as I could. Then I started looking at rent in DC and thinking about trying to start up again as a teaching artist, and I realized that my plan may not be as easy as I thought. So then I thought, "Hey, why not stay in Seattle another year, keep doing what I've been doing and start investigating graduate school opportunities," but then I got hit with that whole homesickness thing, so I second guessed the idea. Lately, I've been playing with the idea of moving back to Richmond, living downtown (definitely NOT with my parents), and substitute teaching / teaching afterschool drama classes until I can figure something new out. But Richmond is a smaller city than Seattle, and while I could certainly get some teaching artist work here, I fear that there won't be as many opportunities to challenge myself as I would like there to be.

And all the while, September 1 gets closer and closer...

In all of this, Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken keeps coming to mind.

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.

People constantly mis-read this poem, making an inspirational quote out of the last two lines and completely abandoning the mournful tone of the previous stanzas. But really, the poem is not uplifting; it's incredibly sad. Frost laments that he couldn't take both roads and wonders what his life would have been like if he had made another choice.

I feel that so much these days. Only two years away and coming home pains me more every time. I've become so different from the person I used to be, and so different from the people I used to be comfortable around. I don't think that's a bad thing, or that I did things any better or any worse than they did. It just is how things are, I suppose. I've grown up. And growing up often means saying goodbye. But for how long? If I take another step down this untrodden road, will that step be un-retractable? Is this road ever going to lead me home? Or will home always be where I choose to make it?

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