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Growing up, whenever someone would say this to me, I never understood it. In my mind, I thought “But, why?” Why would I want to take the road that no one else takes? Why would I want to go the long way? Etc. It seems silly now, but back then I just couldn’t understand why someone would want to take the road less traveled.
I realized later down the line that the saying had many different meanings, and in order to fully understand it myself I needed a comparison to something I physically do. For example, I have 2 routes I can take to get to work each morning. I can take the route that takes 15 minutes to get to work but requires 3 main streets, always packed with traffic, set at 45 MPH (but most drive 35 MPH) which causes irritation, stress, etc… all before I even get to work. OR I can take the route that requires me to cut through a local park, where the speed limit is 25 MPH, but hardly any one else takes this route in the morning. It takes me 20 – 25 minutes to get to work if I go this route, but the ride is such a pleasant one.
It got me thinking this morning: By taking the road less traveled (in the literal sense) I’m able to relax and enjoy my drive, rather than stress out about everything around me. I don’t have the aggressive drivers honking or the speed demons on my cars rear end. Which goes hand-in-hand with Denise’s post the other day (Calm & Mindful Driving). All I have around me is the trees, a small lake, and a slow and steady speed.
I accomplished more in my drive this morning by taking my time than I ever have. I was able to fully enjoy the scenery and I was able to pause in my drive for a moment to watch two squirrels play. Try doing that on a busy road during rush hour and you’re going to get rear ended. There were no worries that the road may be shut down due to an accident where someone was in a rush. No irritation of a semi truck closing all four lanes down while he makes a wide left turn. All of that normal irritation and frustration was gone, and I thoroughly enjoyed my drive this morning. Best of all, when I came into work this morning I was in a fantastic mood (even though I only got about 5 hours of sleep last night).
If we use this example in our every day lives we can significantly reduce the amount of stress we bring on ourselves. By choosing to take the road less traveled, we can enjoy what’s around us. The road less traveled may not always be the quickest route, but sometimes its worth it!
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