The Road Not Taken


Photo by Hayley Rose, 2011

I went running in the woods on the 2.5 mile loop that I love. I was hoping to reach the very sedative yet meditative state that one reaches after prolonged physical activity, but my brain was thinking overtime par usual. I decided to run the loop twice and by my fourth mile I was getting a bit fatigued as I began my battle against the steepest hill of the trail. As I began my ascent up the monster of an incline, I noticed a very inviting bench off to the side. Maybe I should sit down for just a minute…

I debated the idea as I slowly approached what at this moment took on the appearance of a comfy recliner. There was only one mile left to go. If I sat down for even a minute, it would take a lot longer to get to the end. Though that hard wooden bench looked really great right about now, another thought occurred to me: if I walked really slow, I would get a little bit of a break and I would still get to the end of the trail sooner than I would if I took a break by benching it.
Though I still hadn’t reached that meditative state, I did see the metaphor in this situation. Just like achieving a goal, on your path to getting there, it often feels out of reach. You get tired and stressed. It is easy to get discouraged when the results are not immediate. Benching it prematurely is a route that people end up taking most of the time. I recently discussed this with a friend. “90% of people don’t try. 5% of people give up at their first rejection.”

“And the other 5% die trying?” He interrupted.

“No, lol. Well…maybe, but at least 2% them succeed. ”

This “break” a lot of the time ends up being the permanent route. Sometimes, it is easier to tell yourself that what you are striving for is impossible than to keep pursuing your goal despite constant rejection and doors slamming shut in your face. Just slowing your pace is good enough as long as you keep heading in the desired direction. If you are feeling like giving up before you’ve even come close to your goal, perhaps you are putting to much pressure on yourself. It is best to stay focused yet more relaxed about achieving your goal.

Anything is better than giving up. Knowing you will get there eventually is sometimes all you need to keep going when the results of your effort appear to be non-existent. Believe me, they aren’t!

In the end I was glad that I didn’t take a break. Every time I’ve passed the bench since, I scoff at the idea of stopping and continue to plod up the hill with more renewed energy than before.

Was there ever a time you thought of giving up but chose to persevere instead?



Filed under Dreams, Inspirational, Motivation, Poetry

6 Responses to The Road Not Taken

  1. Jeanette

    Thanks, Hayley I needed that. That Robert Frost poem is my favorite. Shame on me for not turning to it when I needed to remember those words.

  2. Paul Roese

    i like Frost as well but this has always stuck with me as well.
    The Red Wheelbarrow William Carlos Williams
    so much depends
    a red wheel
    glazed with rain
    beside the white

    • Hayley Rose

      :) That’s a good one!! I love WCW- I like his poem about the plums! It was actually a note he left on the fridge for his wife

  3. i thought about giving up everything, every single day, when i failed at bulimia, for 11 years. but i kept going . . . until i won. :)
    with respect to your bench, i encountered a similar scenario last week; but i was with my puggle. she yanked me toward the bench because she loves the local bench positioned in front of starbucks . . . so i realised that fulfilling her happiness (of making her think that we were sitting outside of starbucks and of allowing her to rest those little puggle legs) instead of fulfilling my obsessive fitness goals was more important. and that was a big win for me. :) xx

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