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…

I know it probably pains you to read those words since they’ve been quoted ad nauseum, but it probably pains me EVEN MORE to be the one quoting Mr. Frost!  I am in PAIN blogheads.

BUT as it is probably one of the few poems that everyone on earth has heard, I tend to think that speaks to the truth of it.  However, I sort of resent the fact that though the subject matter is so relatable, homeboy does nothing to enlighten us as to what constitutes ‘the one less traveled by’ (although I think this was the tricky bastard’s point)–perhaps this is why I once became frustrated with poets and turned to the dudes with the answers, aka philosophers. But I digress.

I am currently trying to look down two roads as far as I can, and although I feel as though I can “see” fairly far, it does nothing to clarify the course I should take.

Generally, the way I make decisions is by not making them until I absolutely must, at which point I am forced to do what I probably wanted to do anyway, if that makes sense.  Case in point: taking a year off from my educational program.  I “thought it over” for months, and decided at the last second–but deep down, I must have known what I wanted to do all along.  That decision was antithetical to many of my ideas about myself–and shocked pretty much everyone I know–but I feel it was the right thing to do, and certainly what I wanted to do, although I think I was afraid to admit that I wanted it.

That is what worries me about myself–I’m never entirely sure if I feel I want certain things because I am supposed to want them, of if they are actually things that I desire within myself.  In many ways, I fear it is the former–I mean, truly, academia excites and enthralls me, but I cannot envision myself devoting my life to it.  I would be just as happy being a professor at a community college as I would be if I were to become tenured at an ivy–or would I?  Would you?  I mean we’re all supposed to want to be at the top of our game, no?

I’ve always been very ‘ambitious’ etc., but now, my ideas about what I want my life to look like are somewhat different than they have been in the past–and probably somewhat more realistic.  For example, I love children more than anything and I have always dreamed of having a ton of children; however, it is rather difficult to do that if you choose a career that involves incredible and perhaps somewhat abnormal dedication.  I always assumed that I could figure it out, that I could find a way to make time for family and my work, but in reality, I know that something will have to give–it’s hard for me to even have a relationship whilst studying at uni–and I cannot imagine it would be much different if I were a faculty member.

At the same time, I love my field and I really think that I could make a difference within it.  It invigorates me and excites me in a way that most things do not.  And in a lot of ways, I cannot excogitate a future more fulfilling than one that involves a lifetime spent in a high-level intellectual environment, teaching and studying what I love.

All of this is sort of converging upon me right now because Lover has been offered a professorship, and he is so very thrilled and deserving and I am so happy for him, but it is in Vermont.  He wants me to move with him, with the argument that I could continue my education in a different program–but, my current program is amongst the best in the country (if not the best) and I am not sure if giving that up is something I am capable of.  The other option is of course that he works as an adjunct until I finish my program, but I am not sure I feel even remotely comfortable with that idea either.

So what do you do?  We’ve done the long distance thing, but it sucks.  I’m also so young that even though I am fairly certain I am never going to find anyone that even comes close to the person that he is, I do not think it is wise to be planning my life around another person at this stage of the game–something that I think he neglects to appreciate, being several years older than I.

Yet, I am somewhat terrified of being thirty or forty years old and a great success in my field, and coming to the sad realization that I shouldn’t have compromised so many other wonderful things for something that is, ultimately, rather trivial.  Of course, then I could just comfort myself by saying that I took the road less traveled by, right? :)

Why is it that my life seems to be made up of one existential crisis after another?!  I mean…is that what existence is supposed to entail?

If anyone happens to read this and would like to share how they reconcile their professional/educational selves with their personal selves, I am listening! (God?)

x C


Filed under chronicles, ruminations, whatever

6 responses to “two roads diverged in a yellow wood…

  1. Michael

    Reconcilliation proved an impossible goal.

    These days I’m happy that (at least according to existential psychotherapy) living with ambiguity and contradiction is a sign of mental health!

    Whadayaknow; I’ve achieved a desired state by accepting I’ll never balance anything!

    Still can’t figure out how I ended up a vegetable farmer though.

    Some things in life remain a mystery.

    Another excellent post by the way, thanks :)

  2. Charlee

    Haha that is sweet, I always thought all of my confusion and ambiguity meant I needed to fill out an advance psychiatric directive (which I have indeed put on my to-do list.)

    If you can’t balance anything, then which way do you lean?

    And are you really a vegetable farmer?! That sounds like it would be so cool!

    And thanks for your flattery – how is your job search going? Judging by the lack of cartoons, I was thinking well?

  3. Eeek, thanks Charlie, but that’s a different Michael, and not me, and yes things are going amazingly well for me as I continue to fix the economy, though I am significantly less digital and more analog than in the recent past.

    Also I never flatter you, eat vegetables and not farm them, and am personally highly polarized to awesomeness and not ambiguity.

    Does that sound more like me?

  4. I give neither personal nor professional priority, and simply try to figure out what is right. But I’m not a happy person, so you probably shouldn’t listen to me.

  5. Charlee

    Oops. My bad…curses to the internet and my blond moments. That does sound more like you, Michael!

    And scribbler, thanks – if you couldn’t tell, I’m not a happy person either, so fuck happy people! :)

  6. “fuck happy people!”

    I agree. We should make t-shirts.

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