Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
and sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, 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 feet 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 travelled by,
and that has made all the difference
I have to admit, it’s been years since I’ve thought about this poem. As a literature nut who has straddled two worlds for most of his adult life, one would think I would have kept this particular piece a little closer to my heart.
At times, it seems like it’s a never-ending battle. What do I want to be when I grow up? The problem with that question is that I am, in fact, grown-up. And all I can say that I am for certain, is indecisive. I am not unique in this, nor am I the only one who has ever, or will ever, face these kinds of choices. Left or right, fight or flight…such ponderous questions inspired one of the most well-known and memorable poems in all of literature.
My paths in the woods are career paths, specifically technology and entertainment. I’ve walked this line for years, content to keep one foot on the tech path, and one foot on the entertainment path. I write in my spare time, and work a full-time job in Information Technology. I have a degree in computers, but I also am earning a degree in film.
It’s a curious combination, since scientifc, technologically minded people tend to be more left-brained, and creative people tend to be more right-brained. Yet I’ve managed to straddle this line for over a decade of professional life, and the end result thus far has been a spectacular display of mediocrity. Let’s take stock, shall we?
On the tech side of things, my career has been remarkably bland. Oh, I have proven myself to be a hard worker, a self-starter with a talent for effectively managing processes and procedures and implementing improvements that save time and money. I flourish in environments where I can contribute, and where my ideas are heard. I have a good handle on technology and its practical applications in the business world. Yet my I.T. career has been one stellar support job after another. It is only now that I’ve earned a position that is more specialized and focused. I’m comfortable here, to be sure. And I’m drawing a terrific salary (especially in light of the few years in my twenties when I left I.T. for awhile). Yet, things are stagnate, because there aren’t enough hours in the day to fervently pursue an I.T. career, manage home life, and continue with my “other half.”
On the creative side of things, there is no career to speak of: just a series of side projects, many of which have languished in “development hell” for years. The efforts I have put forth, when I do put them forth, have been great, and very well received. My virtual series, Frontiers, was at one time one of the most widely read fanfic series on the internet. Yet, we’ve been releasing Season 3 since 2008. I’ve begun several film projects that ended up being cut short due to various complications. I’ve written several promising prose series that have a pretty big reader base, but they are stalled out early in the run. Yet here and now, I’ve got a great web series off the ground, I’m planning my next short film, and things more moving with my classes. But things are still stagnate to a degree. Why? Because there aren’t enough hours in the day to fervently pursue a career in writing or film, manage home life, and continue with my “other half.”
It takes a special kind of talent to straddle two sides of the fence. It’s given me insight into reconciling different and opposing viewpoints over the years, making me something of a peace maker. It’s allowed me to coax reluctant people into joining me on whatever damn fool crusade I’m embarking on. But when it comes down to it, you have to take a side. To walk that line forever is foolish and impossible. One cannot serve two masters, at least not reliably.
I’ve never been more capable of venturing down one of those roads or the other. Never been more prepared. Will I have the steadfastness to choose technology and let go of my more creative nature? Or will I have the courage to leave the relative safety of the familiar and embark upon that road less traveled?
In the end, it’s never really been about which I would choose. It’s been about how long I could keep them both up. How long I could kid myself into thinking it’s possible to keep it up forever. How long it would take me to find the courage necessary to finally, fully commit myself.
For me, there’s only ever been one thing I love, one thing that keeps me up at night, one thing that makes me giddy every day before work. And my only regret, is that it’s taken me this long to realize it. I’ve always “known” mind you – but the true epiphany, the true, self-permeating realization that I cannot possibly do anything else…that’s a little more recent.
I always thought that making this choice would be some epic event. But it isn’t. It’s a calm, quiet, private moment where something inside of me finally says, “Yes. Yes, you idiot, you’ve finally accepted it. Now go on and live your life. You’ve got a lot of wasted time to make up for.”
Two roads diverge in a wood, and I —
I will take the one less traveled by
And that will make all the difference.