When I was in my late teens, I had NO earthly idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had smarts, I had talents, ambition, drive and energy, just no direction. My Mom said, look child, there are no free rides here, so this is what you are going to do until you figure things out. She signed me up for a class to become a Medical Unit Clerk and went to work at a hospital.
I truly thought I would hate working at the hospital, but I didn’t. The nurses and doctors I worked with could sometimes be demanding and weren’t always friendly, but I was not much worried about those things after the first few weeks.
Instead I was curious. I wanted to understand what the doctor and nurses were doing when they took care of their patients. I found that I had a deep desire to help people manage their pain and to help them heal. There were Doctors and Nurses whom I worked with who understood that about me and gave me encouragement.
One nurse in particular identified my gift for healing and empathy well before I did. She pointed me in an entirely different direction from office administration or nursing. She told me that massage therapy was my calling. And she was right. I changed my career path, went back to school, and got licensed as a massage therapist. As my quest to help those in pain continued, I also became licensed in Pilates and other disciplines, which let me fulfill my dream of helping people to feel better and get stronger. I have been doing just that for over 30 years now.
That’s what this poem brings to mind when I read it. I remember Robert Frost from when I was a child, and I loved his poems then. Now, though, when I read this one, The Road Not Taken, it reminds me how amazing my journey has been, mostly because I took a different path:
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, 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 traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
I wish for you the courage to try some of those roads not taken. It’s made an exciting life for me.