And Two Paths Diverged in a Yellow Wood

I still remember 5th grade, that awkward stage between Barbie dolls and combat boots, and the first time my teacher read us that Robert Frost poem, you know, the one about the man who takes the road less traveled and that made all the difference, and yeah. The first time I heard that poem I thought it was pretty cool. It was all about individuality and as a chubby 5th grader with frizzy hair, bad teeth, and self esteem issues, I was down with that.

 

And then I got to 6th grade and 7th grade and 8th grade which was the point in my life where I was less concerned with my rampant self esteem issues and more concerned with doing whatever I could to shock the general populace, and that was when I realized, in a moment of blinding clarity, sitting at the kitchen table, eating slices of gouda cheese, that Robert Frost got it wrong.

 

See, he talked about finding two roads that diverged in a yellow wood and he had to pick between the one more traveled and the one less traveled but he never took into account the fact that no matter which he chose, he was only copying what somebody else had done before. And I get why teachers read us this poem because it has always been my firmly held belief that your first few years of school are designed to leech you of any and all creativity. Because they really should have considered that when they raised the next generation of builders and creators and dreamers that one right answer is never going to be good enough for us. And that’s not just because I don’t like math class.

 

And authority wants us to pick between two paths already traveled because that’s the easy thing to do, because as long as we stick to the paths that society has already prescribed to us, we’re safe. And safety is all well and good but if we had never done anything considered dangerous the human race would have died out within weeks of its own conception and we would not be here in the first place to pick the easy way out, to do what generations of people have done before us and will do for generations after us.

 

But back to Robert Frost. I don’t think the world is going to end in fire or passion or ice or destruction or whatever you want to call it. The human race is going to end centuries down the line, asphyxiating on the wealth of its own experience because whatever problems we have a couple centuries down the line aren’t going to get fixed, not with only two roads to pick from and no one willing to think outside what we’ve been told we can and can’t do. Because innovation comes from hearing what we can’t do and doing it anyway because if there’s anything that can beat ignorance, it’s sheer willful stubbornness.

 

My point is that if we want to save ourselves from stagnation and a lack of innovation, we have to start now. We have to come upon those two roads in the yellow wood and ignore them because what good is it making the same choice someone made ten or twenty or fifty years before us? We have to walk straight between those two paths, into the trees, pushing aside ferns and kicking rocks out of our way and meeting whatever challenges lie ahead because we learn from our own experience and the best way to be successful is to forge your own path.

 

This poem is about: 
My community

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