Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
This quote was recently mentioned in the book I’m reading and I’ve not been able to get it out of my head since. It is an extract from The Road Not Taken, a poem by Robert Frost and the image it conjures is rather powerful. I see a dense yellow forest, not too dense as to block out the sunlight yet dense enough to hide the horizon. I’m standing at the crossroads, a certain stillness weighing on my chest.
Which road am I meant to take? The clear path, trampled by many determined souls pursuing their goals? Or the road less travelled by, bending further into the forest and softly whispering “choose me”, tempting, like a lustrous red apple begging to be picked from the forbidden tree.
The more I think or it, the more I feel like I’m re-living an episode of my past, a powerful déjà vu I have to fight one more time. Human beings are endowed with the power of choice, the ability to reason beyond the survival instinct prevailing in animals. I suppose it is a privilege. But the power of choice is also a curse; it leads confused architects/writers/pianists/who I am’s like me to question every single step they take.
When I graduated from high school in Bulgaria, I was faced with a choice. Take the path to France, the one 99% of my fellow classmates were taking, the one that came with an earned bursary to study in a French university. Or wander off to England, against the current and everything I knew, with no bursary and no fellow classmates.
I chose England, of course, because I like to challenge myself (is what I tell recruiters but the true reason, I have not found yet) and that has made all the difference in so many ways I can’t, for one second, regret my choice. In others words, if I could go back to Sofia, to that moment I found out I received a bursary to go to France, I would tell 18-year old me to follow her gut. And pick England all over again.
Today, I stand in the woods again, thinking, wishing 2 years from now me could pop in, show me the way and dissipate into thin air again. But of course that only happens in fiction. The real world works in different ways. And in the real world, the little voice inside my head, as terrified as it is anxious, is suggesting I take a leap of faith and move to Paris.
I guess the wind of change is blowing after all.