When I first graduated college in 1997, I didn't know what I wanted to do. My dad got me an unofficial interview at the Department of the Interior Customs office in Houston. I spent one day with the office, and learned what all they did and didn't do, who they were and what they did, different jobs, just general stuff. I was very excited, and submitted my application that evening. Then I reread the fine print. My vision wasn't even CLOSE to the requirement. And given that this was on 1997, LASIK surgery wasn't an option. I was crushed. I really liked the idea and was very excited to do it, and to learn that I couldn't just because I wore glasses really upset me. However, life went on, and here I am, doing infectious disease research and loving it. But this morning, 2 US Customs and Border vehicles drove past me, and something in my heart constricted. I flashed back to that time, to my intense disappointment, and somewhere in my head or heart (hard to tell which), I wondered What Might Have Been.... I'd have been at that job for 9 years now. Where would I be? Would I be a field agent? Lab worker? Would I be in DC? my Local City? Married? Children? Divorced? I've always kind of thought of life like a series of doors. You stand in a room with a bunch of doors. You pick one and go through it. But there is almost never a way to go back to those other doors. The door to the US Customs offices was closed a LONG time ago, but sometimes I still wonder about all of those closed doors behind me. What did I miss? Was it good, or bad, or both? Would I have succeeded? Failed? Would I have still ended up in the same place, just via a different route?
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair, A
nd having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
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.
I'm not sure I took a road less traveled, but I definitely feel the tone of this poem.