Life offers a road less traveled. Every choice opens and closes a door.

“I’ll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.”
— Cheryl Strayed

Robert Frost’s iconic poem expresses my sentiment about other possible paths. Those opportunities that flitted by only to be grabbed by another soul in waiting.

The Road Not Taken

[…] I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

As for me, I took the only path I could—the one that took me to myself. And yes, that has made all the difference.

If I had made other choices…

I might have become a concert pianist or a singing sensation traveling the globe.

A pediatrician caring for children in underdeveloped countries making a difference in the world.

An attorney taking up the cause for the oppressed, I could have made the world more just.

Each of those paths required different choices.

“We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.”
—Marcel Proust

My road less traveled

a cobblestone path in the Versailles gardens with trees and flowers-a road less traveledI look at what I would have missed.

I gaze in the eyes of a man I have loved for over 50 years. We sit silently, but content, on the swing under the conversation tree. Two hearts share the beauty of the evening sky. We follow the path of the bald eagle as she soars across the lake searching for a quick dinner.

The faces of each of our children tell a story that might not have been. Each milestone in their lives carved into mine. Watching them find their way in the world, I marvel at their resiliency, integrity, and courage.

And grandchildren, well. I can say beyond a doubt, I would never trade those moments of laughter, hugs, and pure joy.

Every football game, every band concert, every dance competition etched in my memory. Tears of disappointment, cheers of success, and those precious moments of sharing—look what I would have missed.

These events, people, struggles, defined and shaped my life. They also led to other paths for those I love. Our life does not play out as singular events—a single story with a beginning and an end.

Ours is a story shared and intertwined with other paths, other choices. You may never realize the impact of a single decision. That view only comes once we’ve lived the journey.

Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.
—Sören Kierkegaard

So much yet remains to be lived. Every day new choices, new paths

What dreams swept over my path like falling leaves? Each one with an enticing invitation pointing toward a road, a turn that could change the course.

“… and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

And always—

Be kind. Be brave. Be you.

Photos: Two Roads by kirkandmimi from Pixabay; The Path by Kathryn A. LeRoy