It’s always at the expense of something else. Always. Each decision we make, each relationship we begin or end, every adventure we engage in, there’s always a cost. Tradeoffs is the colloquial term. Life is a series of decisions that exploit the Yin and the Yang in our lives. If we choose to go one direction, it’s at the expense of the other. If we want green, then blue will suffer. The biggest question to solve, and maybe the most bitter is which road do we take?
Robert Frost told us he’d take the road less traveled. Makes sense. New trail to discover, new thoughts to ponder, new surroundings and the quest to find out “what’s there”. All of it seems so grand piquing our interest, our innate sense of curiosity. We humans are little more than cats in that regard, sticking our noses where they belong and where they don’t, trying to find the answer to, well, anything. Unraveling the mysteries of life, whatever they may be, so when Mr. Frost, no cousin of Jack, tells us he’d rather the road less travelled, it makes sense.
What about the travelled? The well worn old shoe that dozens, thousands, or millions have walked? Is there no merit in that as well? While the road less travelled offers wonders to satiate any appetite, it also offers insecurity, the unknown. Carving out one’s path is hard work and requires a sense of determination and devotion many simply don’t possess. Would it be so bad to travel the road others trod and improve it? Put your stamp on it, your footprint. Waldo was here, no need to look and while we’re at it, we can see Kilroy as well wandered the same dirt.
Sir Isaac Newton told us that if he’d seen further than others, it’s because he stood on the shoulders of giants. They’d meandered the same river bank only he made it better. Yes, reinvent the wheel, but reinvent it so the tread lasts longer, or the ice cream tastes better or whatever, which is an improvement over what is.
There are no dead ends, just dead, and as long as we’re not on that journey, pick a road. Choose the one less travelled or one already worn by the work of others. It doesn’t matter, just make it your own.