My sixth grade teacher Mrs. Clayton (shout out to Vallemar Middle School in Pacifica), gave me a book of poems by Robert Frost at the end of the school year. In his poem “The Road Not Taken,” Frost writes
“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.
Taking the off-beaten path can be a difficult and challenging journey and one that can be worth the effort. I am a big fan of hiking and being outdoors. While well-groomed pathways can be a lot easier and predictable, I have found that the less-explored routes have led to some of the most awe-inspiring destinations.
Same can be said for the mind. Studies on neuroplasticity of the brain have shown that neural pathways themselves can be restructured and strengthened. I will leave that talk to the experts for now.
In summary, new challenges, whether they be of the body (trying to lose weight, trying to get back in shape, adjusting eating patterns) and/or mind (striving for stress reduction, adjusting sleep patterns, trying to form healthier habits); while difficult initially can make all the difference in the greater span of your life. How has taking a less traveled route (literally, physically or spiritually) helped shaped your life? How might meeting a new challenge today guide you toward a better tomorrow?