The Dark Road

Lexy - Hudsonville, Michigan
Entered on January 21, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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Highlights, cell phones, and Ugg boots – these are the trends of today. Things like Hollister clothes and tan skin bring friendship and acceptance, but at what price? These status symbols also bring suffocation and an almost unbearable weight to fit in. There is a poem that speaks volumes to this idea of stepping off the beaten path and onto a path of excitement and adventure. It reinforces that idea that when the time comes to choose the mainstream or the miraculous, the latter is consistently the better option. Robert Frost wrote this poem: The Road Less Travelled. I believe in the road less travelled.

It’s not just high school fashions, it’s life. There are expectations in the way we live that aren’t necessarily the best things for us. We are expected to be polite, be clean, be on time, be politically correct – where does it end? Why is cleanliness so great? I heard a great metaphor once: don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Play in the sand with your children, help out at a charity, reach out to the sick, kick off your shoes and live a little. Oh, it’s easy to consider for a moment or two, but make it a lifestyle? As always, it’s easier said than done.

Although a hard choice to make, taking the less-used path is, more often than not, the right choice. So what holds us back? I believe the main obstacle is fear. I can picture those two roads: the one is clear and clean. Tall green trees line either side, and you can see for miles. There are no surprises. Anyone can see what’s coming in the near future. And then there is the other road. It’s questionable whether it could even be called a road, this narrow path of dirt. It is dark and eerie, the kind of path where people are abducted or murdered. Fog makes seeing more than a few feet in front of you impossible, and the ground that is visible is rocky and uneven. It is a terrifying path, especially without knowing the destination. And while the first path is quite obviously the most appealing, what we forget to see is how crowded it is. We refuse to acknowledge the millions of people who travel this same path. We will not see them until we are among them.

I believe that when we come to that ever-famous fork in the road, we should not be afraid to take the road covered in filth: the filth of sickness, the filth of pain, the filth of the unknown. As our peers continue on the safe road of college, a solid career, and marriage, why should we be afraid to leave the mainstream and explore the radical? Why, because no one else has gone there before, should I be afraid to go there? It is the great people in the past who have taken the less clear path. What great hero ever did that which was expected of him? Instead, it is as Robert Frost wrote: “Two roads diverged in a wood and I -/ I took the one less travelled by/ and that has made all the difference.”