I often feel like I’m standing at yet another of life’s crossroads. Or roundabout. Or a confusing LA-esqe multi laned highway turnoff/merge/exit. Sometimes it’s just me standing there, staring blankly, sometimes I’m there with a close friend, my family or my partner.
At these times I often think of the New Jersey turnpike in the film Being John Malkovich and marvel at the crazy portal of life and the strange places it spits you out at. That, and Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, because a choice is necessary here, inevitable even, but you can never really know the outcome of your choice until you have lived it. Which can feel a little daunting at times.
Will the next choice I make lead to happiness?
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.
Frost is a cheeky bastard of a poet, don’t you think? Is he sighing with happiness or regret? Was the difference good or bad? You could argue, knowing how way leads on to way, we can always make another choice, right? But that choice will then be informed and influenced by the former choices. Snowball effect. Rippling in a pond. Dominos are tumbling down. I’m starting to hyperventilate. And still just standing here, staring blankly.
This handy flow chart gets straight to the point though –
It’s a palindrome, so you’ll need to watch the entire 1:45 to understand the full message. And that also means that if you don’t have sound then you’ll have to read each line, then read them backwards in order to see the true meaning!
And on a final note I shall leave you with this to consider. A most excellent piece of street art spotted tonight at the top of my parents street in Bondi, albeit fuzzily captured by my iphone. Apt, I think, considering all that’s been going on in my head right lately.
I love it. I love that it’s quoting the 1998 Spice Girls song Stop.
I’m going to stop, make my happiness decision with a human touch, and be on my merry way. And if life spits me out at the New Jersey turnpike again, well, I’ll just have to dust myself off and crawl back down the crazy portal that is life, right?!