Every morning I literally travel down the same roads. I drive the same routes to and from work. At times, though I hate to admit it, it’s as if the vehicle is on autopilot. It’s so easy to become lost in thought as the familiarity of the path becomes white noise. Gone is the amusement of taking in the scenery and marveling at the beauty of the area. In its stead I have now been wondering more about the roads that I pass daily yet never travel down.
I’ve lived in the Milledgeville area for over a decade and each morning as I drive to work I pass by the many roads that I’ve never traveled down. My Milledgeville is the only one that’s known to me. Thus, the roads I’ve never ventured down don’t feel like they exist. Similar to life, we often pick and choose the things we want to see and the paths we will travel. There are times when I am tempted to take a detour in order to see the parts of town that I don’t know. However, I ultimately choose not to meander and faithfully keep my course.
Our lives are quite similar to that of my daily commute. We do the same things to the point of routine and predictability. In so doing we take advantage of and fail to see the beauty and intricacy in the routine itself. We avoid the things that are unfamiliar or different, unwilling to take the chance to venture down paths that are foreign to us.
I drive past but not down streets that are questionable in appearance and are known by reputation. In life I too avoid the questionable and is sometimes guilty of buying into the absoluteness of stereotyping. I drive down roads that are inviting. Yet besides my casual curious glance, I drive on. In life I am often leery of changing my routine, reluctant in trying something different. Occasionally to the point of complete dismissal.
I feel that I sometimes limit my scope and am close-minded about the various aspects of life. For years I would choose to believe something solely because it was commonly accepted or expected. Now, I’m less likely to simply take “because that’s just the way it is” as an acceptable reason for believing in or doing something. I am now more willing to travel down roads that were previously forbidden or taboo. Now, more willing to explore subjects such as religion, sexuality and morality from a more personal perspective. I’m more open to possibilities that weren’t previously learned behavior or learned beliefs. Sometimes the roads not travelled are not meant to actually be taken but rather, they’re meant to be considered.
We make choices in life, we choose roads that forces us to sometimes forego other paths, other options. But in doing so we don’t have to fully exclude them. We should take time to acknowledge their existence and in some cases admit that while the road is not one you would have personally chosen, it may be the correct one for someone else. Some paths and roads are meant to be avoided while others explored or lived in.
Sometimes, as stated in Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, we wish to take both roads but must choose one. One finds that there are paths to look at but not to travel down. While there are others that we create and discover, occasionally paving the way. There are all sorts of paths and roads in life and no one path should always be followed. And sometimes, we should take the “one less traveled by,” and discover that “that has made all the difference.”
This article appeared on page 5A in the 6/13/12 issue of The Union-Recorder.