Sunday, 24 August 2014

Choices and Consequences

This is the time of year when many young people  that finished school in June will be deciding which course to take to continue their education . Some will go to university or college, others into apprenticeships or try to look for a full time job using the skills they have acquired at school. For some young people these choices are easy enough. They have always had a passion for say medicine or psychology, art or law and off they happily go to the next stage of their path towards this goal. Others are not so sure what they want to do or maybe didn't win that sought after place on their desired course. Whatever the situation it is a time to make a choice  and it is an important one.
Life is a series of choices for all of us, some are easy and some are hard. We make choices every day from eating that extra biscuit to making  a phone call to a friend to making important life changing decisions.
One of my greatly loved uncles was useless at making choices. A bit like Winnie- .the -Pooh who when asked if he would like honey or condensed milk with his bread replied "Both". Then, so as not to appear greedy he hurriedly added, "It doesn't matter about the bread." Well my uncle had such a hard time making up his mind that when looking for a place to live he decided to call his chosen home "Ricochet", because he had changed his mind so many times. My dad used to joke that my uncle would have his tombstone engraved with "I should have had the other plot".
My mum and I inherited this trait too, neither of us found it easy to make choices. Of course the trouble is that once you have made a choice you have usually closed the door forever to the alternative. Not always, but mostly you do.  That is why we have to be careful. we can't always keep our options open and we don't want to spend our energy constantly looking over our shoulders and regretting our choices.
There is a poem by Robert Frost (1874 - 1963) which tells us about someone having to make a choice . Robert Frost came to live in Britain in 1912 and the poem was inspired by a friend Edward Thomas who lived in Gloucestershire.  Edward Thomas was so eager to show Robert Frost the beauty of the countryside that he could never decide which way to go and always regretted not having shown his friend something else.I'm sure we can all identify with these feelings. you want someone to see the best of what your home town has to offer and sometimes there isn't enough time to show them everything. In the poem, the grassy path could symbolise anything from a new job , a new relationship or where to go for the day. Here is the poem and a wish for everyone to make the right choices.

The Road Not Taken

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 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 travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.



The path through the wood

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