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Midlife Crisis Forum

Response: The Road Not Taken

Hi Mike, Do you believe in synchronicity? I am a counselor and an adjunct professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. This semester I have been teaching Paraprofessional Counseling and part of the program is working with midlife issues. One of my students used your " Midlife Crisis" as a reference in a required paper, so I thought I would see what she was reading, so I could respond to her comments. I appreciated your thoughts on "The Road Not Taken." I believe that the reason many individuals give the common intrepretation of the road less travelled is because many times in an effort to get on with our lives, we frequently do not slow down enough to see what is before us. As youth we move so rapidly wanting to be all and do all that many opportunities for development are missed. It takes us until we reach midlife to realize that there is more than one speed to life and many options to be considered, and for some choices have been made that leave them with that tinge of regret. We skip over the title to get on with the poem, as goes our lives.

I was born and lived my teenage years in Texas, but Alaska has its moments. While it may be far, it's truly worth the time to come for a visit. Could I have permission to copy your article to use in my class? I would like my students to have a little insight into other's perspectives.



Hi, Mike. I finally found time to stop by your site and found this jewel. Totally right! I recently decided to go to work , despite my blindness, and found that suddenly there were so many roads to walk down that I wore myself out. Afriend told me that I was getting to where I had to choose and realize that I wasn't a carefree hippie anymore. I resented that until I saw that it is a good thing to have a governor on my insanity. I paired it all down and now I am going to attend a blind school and expand the road I am on, instead of chasing down the bunny trails of life.I hope.Pam


Mike, I think all of us can relate to this poem of Robert Frost's. I remember when I was young and had a dozen things I wanted to be when I grew up- teacher, lawyer, doctor, nurse, traveler, mother, wife, counselor, photo journalist, to name a few. I have done a few of them. I remember how hard it was in deciding what career path to take. I became a wife and mother first, before I went on to get my nursing degree. All, in all, I'm pleased with the choices I've made thus far. Now, it seems, in my second half of life, I'm again faced with more career choices and a fork in the road. I hope I make more fulfilling choices!


February 1999

Hi there,

I've just read your comment on the poem by Frost. I am from South Africa, and was lucky enough to have studied this poem at school with a teacher that made poetry real. I think your views on the poem are very similar to mine, and I really enjoyed reading them.

I have not explored the web site yet (my search took me right to the comments). Are there any other peoms that you have commented on? If so I would like to read them.

Regards, Reinhardt


Hi R.

No other poems right now, but your comments make me think I might better look at some.

Thanks, Mike

March 26, '99

Hello: I do appreciate your view, but should we worry and toil over the road not taken, or should we celebrate in the theme of breaking new ground and going the path of the unconventional? If we wonder that every decision that we have made was wrong or right, or even wish we would have done this or that, makes one feel they are indecisive and unsure with their choices The paths we have chosen makes us who we are as individuals, and to question that, is to question your own personality. Once we take the road, we should be able to learn from our mistakes, and not brood over such decisions. It's a tight rope act to learn from our choices, and not dwell on what could have been. It is better to look at the theme of opening new doors and taking the path less traveled. Sure, we can always wish, or even try to go back and take the other road, but usually we know we will never return. That is why we should take the road less traveled, we often know what lies beyond the more traveled path. It is much easier to look upon the road less traveled and wish you would have taken it. However, if the road less traveled is the first choice, there is no wonder, for you did chose wisely. That path, truly should make all the difference in the world. Lewis and Clark and Neil Armstrong are inspiring, and I am sure they were not wondering about "The Road not Taken". THANK YOU

David L. Kostishack


I want to tell you that I enjoy reading this piece. I am doing a research paper on this peom. I have to agree with you.




Of course, I was browsing...looking for info on this poem. You have a very good slant on this poem. To me, it reminds me of the choices of living in sin. Shall I take the straight and narrow or the broad one that leds to destruction. What do you think about my insight?



Ummmm. Trilisa, I'll have to think about that one--Mike


April 23, '99

Hi, just wanted to let you know what I thought of Frost's poem.

I think what he's emphasizing isn't one road or another. He's emphasizing making a choice and sticking with it. Don't stand idle and wonder about past choices - look ahead.

June 7, '99

Hello Mike,

I am an exchange student from Germany attending High School in Virginia. Recently I found this inspirational poem by Frost and decided to use it as part of my graduation speech. I have to admit that I went with the more common interpretation: the road less traveled, individualism etc. :) Anyways...I like Frost very much and enjoy reading his poems, although I haven't really gotten in touch with too many of them. Another very remarkable one is Reluctance.

Well, just wanted to drop a line in between the busy lives we lead :)


June 21, '99

Mike, More often than I'd like to admit, I have found myself lamenting the "Road Not Taken". I seem to have a habit of following an unconventional pathway. And I often wonder if it wouldn't be easier to just follow-the-herd. But deep within my psyche somewhere are the two beliefs that propel me forward down the road less travelled. The first, is the belief that anything worthwhile is worth the struggle getting there. The second deeply held belief is that I will not grow if I allow fear to hold me back. My personal motto is: "Every day, in every way, I strive to be, a better me." Sometimes the fullfilment of that motto has taken me down an unconventional path. But I have grown from my choices, even if I've shed some tears for the other lost opportunities that resulted along the way. Ginny

August 16, '99

Mike, I enjoyed your comments on the poem and how you feel it relates to your life. I too, have attended several schools and have lived in many different places. The only thing I regret about constantly switching from one "road" to another is that it looks bad on a resume. Otherwise, I am richer for the experience. I think it is worth mentioning that Frost didn't have any regrets. He once said he wrote the line "I shall be telling this with a sigh..." as a very private joke at the expense of those who think that he would yet experience regret (paraphrased but damn close). D.B.

November 22, '99


I could not agree with you more. The last line of your column was particularly striking to me. I have looked back one too many times, wondering why I did not take this road or that one. Many a time have I felt that awful feeling in my gut when I see something or someone doing something I once considered or started but never finished. And, yes, that awful feeling of envy at times...

I, too, have changed jobs many times...moved several times...switched majors...etc. But, in hindsight (always 20-20) I realize that it all had a purpose. I am not looking forward to so many changes now. My changes come a little slower (or shall I say they come very fast but I take a little bit more time before I jump in head first?)

Many roads, indeed! I look back and I just know I have made my mark in many of them. And that brings me some satisfaction. I believe in a new and improved second half (where is the halfway mark anyway?) of my life. There will be other roads I shall take...all I shall learn from each.

Thanks for such an inspiring column.



Mike, just read your comment on the poem and I agree that it can be a real battle of choices in life. You said you sometimes dream of living in Colorado, well I live in Colorado and its not the same anymore. I made a choice in earlier years to become a musician. I traveled that road for sixteen years and things didnt work out like I wanted but I dont regret that choice over further academics. I now am traveling the road (so to speak) of landscape photography and in this age of marriage, mortgages and mayhem its hard to make travel time, but I'm still going down that road. True, too many roads traveled can lead you nowhere but for you and anyone else who reads this remember, in traveling your roads regardless of success or failure you never will look back in later years and wonder what if? And that is the worst thing of all.


March 19, 2000

The monster,com commercial on tv compelled me to search the internet for the author of the poem.  I have heard the
poem somewhere in my past and being a 46 year old armchair adventurer it aroused something deep inside of me.  This is truly the beauty and also the importance of the written word.  I am high school and self educated but am daily touched by the work of insightful and cerebral folk such as Robert Frost and others .  I was amazed to find so many entrys on the web
pertaining to this particular poem.  I say right on to the internet and think that a revolution in learning is on the horizon.


December 4, 2000

That's a great comment:

" today's procrastinations are tomorrow's regrets "

No question... would've , could've, should've are words that echo through our heads some days.  It seems that
as I get older, and after my recent divorce from a 26 yr marriage, I think those thoughts .

Thanks for a great column that makes one think.



There is a movie coming out with Nicholas CAge about the road he didnt take, that of father and husband, family man. He instead took the ceo, power, greed route. Oh bad man... then he has all these regrets. I feel angry at how the entertainment industry can push this stuff down our throats. How being connected to family is all important. Then with the next film push us into the wantfullness of fast, fancy cars and bodies and mansion houses. A Demi Moore movie I recently rented, Passion of the mind, seemed to solve this problem. She lived one life in a dream, fast career, single woman's life and the other in the country side inFrance with two children and a garden. SHe ididnt know what was the real world. For me at 38 midlife thus far feels likes Jungs idea of being in a constant tension sometimes conscious, somtimes not between the what if world and what we have... Living in that tension he refers to as transcendent function. The goal of midlife is to restore balance between the ego from the first half of our lives and the parts of us that are yet to be developed. going from outside ego to inside undeveloped
roads... thanks for putting the poem out there. Love more feedback about movies role in all this confusion. My guess is they just perpetuate it. beauty, youth, health, wealth all sells. sabrina

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