Life Lesson: Making Choices

Something I’ve been struggling with lately is choosing the right path forward. Making decisions — specifically about graduate school, but also more broadly about what I want in life, both for myself and from myself — is a challenge.

I have the peculiarly nasty, self-defeating habit of considering choices in terms of losses. Take the hyperventilation-inducing task of selecting a graduate program, for example: if I get my Master’s in Marketing, am I pigeonholing myself? What if I study media instead, am I still limiting my options for the future? If I choose a broad degree like Communication, does it sound too floofy*? Would it even help get me a job? Does a brand-name institution negate potential perceived degree floofiness? What if I don’t get in? What kind of completely insane twenty-something willingly leaves a well-paying job in This Economy to amass tens of thousands of dollars in debt? Do I even need to go back to school? Do I want to go back to school?

As you can see, I excel in fruitless rumination. Which is why when I stumbled upon this wonderful interpretation of a Robert Frost poem, it was literally as if Life popped out of my computer screen, smacked me around a bit, and gave me a good shake to make sure that I was awake, alert, and paying attention. New perspective will do that to a cripplingly indecisive girl.

Illustrator Gavin Aung Than took Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” and instead of focusing on the loss of not taking a road — whether that meant not traveling the world, or not going to school, or not meeting certain people — he artfully celebrates the satisfaction and fulfillment of just… making choices. No matter which road Protagonist McGee strolls down, he ends with a smile on his face and a sense of calm (and perhaps, a bit of curious wonder at what might have been) twinkling in his eyes. As Than puts it, “I read it as being about how one’s life is the sum of their decisions, for better or worse, and wondering if those decisions were the right ones.”

road not taken illustration art zen pencils poetry poems robert frost


Refreshing, right? Hopefully trying to re-frame my constant inner struggles (about going back to school or changing careers or living abroad or leaving everything and joining the circus) with this every-choice-is-the-right-choice outlook will keep me focused, centered, and sane. Hopefully… there’s much work to be done.


*floofy: Too vague to be considered “serious.” The floofy-sounding degree I am considering is titled “Communication, Culture and Technology.” What does it mean? Beats me, but all of the classes sound AMAZING and make me excited about learning.

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