Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What If You Took the Other Fork in the Road?

I usually only read poetry when threatened, as in "I will flunk your sorry disobedient ass if you don't read this poem" - and often not even then, as witnessed by the F I received in English during my three weeks before I was expelled/ dropped out from Alton High School.

One of the few poems I actually like is by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken, which ends:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 Most of us encounter forks in the road. The past three days I have been in St. Louis, MO where I have done some social activity every night, meeting up with 37 different relatives (that is an exact count, not an exaggeration), some of them more than once, and an additional 23 boyfriends, old friends, new friends and random people who wandered in.

I moved away 39 years ago to spend a year in Japan. Then I came back to finish my senior year of college and moved away again.

What would it be like if I had done like many of my friends and family did - graduated from college and stayed put?

What did I miss by leaving? It's nice to have family around. Everyone asked about Ronda, but they also asked about the other three daughters, their husbands, the grandchildren. It's a different experience being around people who knew me when I was broke, single, not yet a college graduate, not yet a lot of things.

No one has to impress anyone, fill anyone in on a back story or history, because they already know it - what your parents were like, how many cousins you have, when you got divorced.

Even if they think you are a bit of a pain in the ass, they are at least civil to you because, as Frost said in another poem,

‘Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.’

 Okay, that has about exhausted all of my knowledge of poetry.

I was talking about this tonight with my friend, Laura, who I have known since high school (how crazy weird is that?) She pointed out that if I had never moved away, I would definitely not have ever met Ron. I wouldn't have had Jennifer and Ronda. I wouldn't have met Dennis and had Julia. It's highly doubtful that I would have started a gaming company. I wouldn't be working with people on three different American Indian reservations.

In short,  I would be a different person.

The way you choose to go, determines who you are - to an extent.

Although it's impossible to know, I think if I had stayed in St. Louis I would have still gotten a Ph.D. at some point, still gotten married. I don't think I would have been a bad person or an unsuccessful one, but my whole life definitely would have been different.


Check out our games -

Free demos - this is my grown-up job.


Oh yeah, I wrote this book, too. 
My publisher would like it if you buy it, and you will learn judo, too.


Ardebaren said...

Oh, Japan! so jealous right now, top of my list for places to visit before I die, was it nice?

Ventus said...

Going to Japan and training to be a Ninja was one of my more serious plans when i was younger. :)
I had it all figured out. get there, find the secret ninja school, which of course exist but are not widely known because they are secret - duh. Then stubbornly refuse to go away until i make them accept me. I was ready to take anything they might throw at me. Except shurikens, but i could dodge those. For sure. After that i would spend my time fighting crime and just generally being cool and doing awesome stuff.

But i ran into a fork on my path and it sent me the other way.
Although i had many experiences i didnt much like in this other path it probably saved me from all kinds of trouble and worse if i somehow stayed on that original path.

I wont write about any bad times or memories today so i hope that anecdote is at least somewhat funny. However embarrassing it is to admit it, it is actually true.

There was one of the other forks in the path, when i decided to take a look and see what is going on in the UFC and mma after a long time off, to see what that blond girl is up to... then decided to see if there is maybe an interview or two about her so i could see what shes like.

That was a blast that is hard to describe in short... but among many things and revelations it also led me to getting to know the first American Judo champion and this blog here.
Someone who actually went to Japan and learned awesome martial arts - unlike me.
I learned so many things, had so many great moments and discoveries... words are not enough to properly thank you for all of it.

It made my world better.

So i would just wish you all a very happy new year.
Wish you positive good forks in the path and success in the arts of balance. Especially for your miss Marvel in all the things she is juggling, but most of all in achieving a balance in her heart.

Anonymous said...


plam said...

Thanks for the post. The thing I wonder about sometimes is: what if I had gone to a different graduate school than the one I ended up going to? Fifteen years later, things turned out fine for me. I suppose they would have turned out fine otherwise too, but they would be different in many interesting ways.