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?)