But what if…

The Crystal Ball by John William Waterhouse

This week I found myself faced with a challenging decision that would affect my future in significant ways.  I used all the tools and resources and good-thinking friends and family available to me to make the decision, and I am still not sure if it was the “right” one (as if there actually is a “right” one). My head said one thing; my heart and my gut said another, and said it loudly. It was maddening! Ultimately, I went with my heart and my gut, which was new for me and somewhat freeing.


Next time, though, I’d like a crystal ball. It would make the process a whole lot easier, and I wouldn’t be left with the sad feeling of “But what if…”

But what if…

But what if…

Robert Frost’s poem “The road not taken” has always nicely represented these dilemmas for me, and I’ve used it as a guideline in the past.

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,

and 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 feet 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 travelled by,

and that has made all the difference.

But this time, I really didn’t know which path was which. I was lost in those woods, and I couldn’t see either path clearly to know which would actually make “all the difference.”

So instead I will just need to trust that “way leads on to way.”

(But what if…)

(But what if…)


6 thoughts on “But what if…

  1. I am a firm believer in following one’s gut. Especially when it speaks loudly. It’s usually right. The fact that there was a “freeing” feeling post decision, to me, affirms this. Trust it!

  2. It’s not that there’s no right decision — it’s that there are many right decisions (and a few wrong ones), and that every decision will have fallout, and that it’s never possible to predict fallout.

    At least, that’s what I think all the pre-decision angst is about. It’s a desire to predict, prepare for, and mitigate fallout.

    But it’s all an illusion. Even if we’re as in “control” as anyone ever possibly could be, the fallout will have unpredicted elements. The only thing we can EVER do is deal with today today. So … go with your gut instinct (like playing the music in performance) after doing all the hours in the practice room (the advice you dutifully got and thought about), and let the performance be what it will – because there will be others.

    Now, how’s THAT for a bit of post-family&schoolcraziness philosophy on a Saturday morning!

    (Disclaimer: all opinions given above are the lessons of the universe. They say nothing WHAT.SO.EVER about the reporter’s ability to pay attention to her own reporting.)

  3. One’s intuition and gut feeling makes our inner compass! Yet, I wonder if the University can het us a community magic 8 ball……

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