Friday, August 2, 2013

The Awesomeness of It All

"Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood"
Sometimes I wish I were older so I could look forward to dying sooner. Other times, I wish I were unborn. Most times, I wish I were much, much younger than I am (I'm 65). I guess it all balances out, but that's another story and maybe it belongs to someone else.

"May you live in interesting times" is the so-called "Chinese curse," probably apocryphally.

Anyway. I'm still at that point where I'm not sure what this post is about. It was supposed to be apropos of an earlier post. Maybe a sequel. Maybe a clarification.

Maybe it has to do with change. I just found out there were 38 synonyms for "regret" but only three antonyms, which says, really, quite a bit about change, or at least how I, and, I think, most others, view change, as in the existential life kind. Contemplate change, and 39 voices will whisper you into the bottom of a wine bottle before you catch your breath.

Or so it seems. From the time I could read, I knew I wanted to write, but I never did. I never made the decision not to, I just didn't do it. Why? Hmm. I'm pretty sure I thought I would tackle writing right after I finished whatever it was I was doing at the time. I never looked at any work I ever did as anything more than temporary, a way to fill in the spaces and be *responsible.*

It had to have been a midlife crisis in my late thirties that propelled me into San Francisco State's creative writing program and a degree at age forty. But I also rationalized the hell out of it to myself. The likelihood of making a living from writing was pretty remote, especially starting out at middle age. 

I told myself that no matter what, at some point I'd be old, and if the Grim Reaper were knocking at the door, I would much rather have tried and failed than to have given up altogether. And that choice has made all the difference. You can hear the 39 voices telling you "no," or you can hear the one that says, "Why not?"

And sometimes, it helps to read the whole Robert Frost poem:

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.

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