The road now taken

letter from Meg


November 2002

Ang —

It's letter time once again. The pressure is on to say something profound and inspirational. But the more I think about your big move and the "right" thing to say as a send-off,  the more I realize that there is no right thing, no right path to take in life, no right way to feel about any chosen decision.

Moving to Portland just is. It's only right because it's happening.

Remember that poem every English teacher makes junior high kids read, Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken"?  There's that famous line that teachers use to encourage students' individuality/originality:

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."

This line leads people to believe that there was one right path, that it was the more unique, more hidden of the two paths and that Robert Frost found it, made the right decision, etc. But this isn't really what Frost is saying at all. It only "made all the difference" because that's the one he chose. The whole poem is really about his sadness over the fact that he couldn't travel both roads, and "be the same traveler."

The real problem for you is that you are a deeply feeling person who can't help but feel the complexities and layers of everything this move means. Most people resign themselves more quickly to what's "right" or "wrong". For whatever reason, you are not this type of person. You can be on one path and feel the nostalgic echo of another road you decided not to take.

This is both a curse and a blessing.

It makes living in the here and now and embracing the present tense moment more difficult. But it also makes you wiser. You can see beyond this moment, this decision, this road. You see a bird's eye view of your life. You can make all kinds of connections between past and present. You can draw meaning and metaphor from your gift of perspective. What's more—you can share this gift with others who are struggling over decisions or fluctuating between paths.

I'll stop with the English lecture and just say that I support you 100% even if you only feel 50% sure.

What you need I think you'll find somewhere between here and Portland. You'll feel it crossing the borders of each new state. You'll feel it in the weather change, the treelines, the difference of sun and new air. You'll find what you're looking for in the mile markers and road signs.

It's not about the destination or the arrival. It's about the traveling itself. Wherever you are on the journey is the "right" place to be. Remember—you carry so much love and light and wisdom with you. You have everything you need.

I love you.

Meg

Meg is one my best friends from childhood. This excerpt from her letter is part of a series inspired by mementos found inside an old trunk. The parts stand alone but together, they tell a story. It continues here. To start at the beginning, click here.