After trudging several switchbacks up to the crest of a ridge, I was rewarded with this provocative view and, my main goal, a seriously increased heartrate. Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken
came immediately to mind. It would be so cool if choices came to us like this—stretched out before us, the beginnings of each one clear, beckoning to us, all seemingly good options.
I don’t know about you, but my decisions, the big ones anyway, aren’t nearly this pretty. They’re fraught with analyses, and processing, and weighing pros and cons, and little tricks like, “What if I chose option A?” You know that one? That’s where you pretend that you picked option A and see how badly you regret not picking option B. Then there’s the sudden death test. That’s where you imagine you found out you were going to die in a month or a year or however long—depending on the length of time before you expect to feel the impacts from said decision—and ask yourself what you wish you would have done. I always reserved that test for the biggies like telling a horrible boss to fuck off or taking out a second mortgage on the house to pay for IVF or staying away from the crack pipe.
This coronavirus pandemic has me thinking along those lines (not about the crack pipe, thank goodness that’s long been gone from my mind!), about what really matters today and what I would regret doing (being a bitchy wife, yelling at my kids) or not doing (hanging out with my teens on their terms, publishing my memoir and Dad’s story) if I got really freakin’ sick with COVID--19.
So, my house is a little messier, the fence still isn’t stained, but I’m going to make my husband a cup of tea and play Code of Honor, or whatever that PlayStation video game is—oh, Call of Duty—with my kids. Then I’m going to stay up way too late writing, submitting essays for publication and querying a few more agents.
By the way, as soon as I returned home from that hike, I reread Frost’s poem. Oh, to write like that! Which paths are beckoning to you?