Left: The Trio
Ever wonder what life would have been like had you taken a completely different path in your younger days?
I know it is an exercise in futility; in fact it can even bring back searingly painful memories. But I do indulge in it occasionally and the pain does ease over time.
Pak Abu said he rued the day he decided not to go for his doctorate, despite advice from his professor, all because he wanted so badly to come home after spending many years in a foreign land.
For me, the lowest ebb of my life was when I had to turn down offers from a couple of universities in the US because my maternal instinct was stronger than my academic aspiration.
I had just graduated from a local college and was given an opportunity under the TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) programme to pursue an English course that would officially qualify me to teach college-level English.
Instead, the ex and I got involved in a tussle of wills. I had wanted the children with me but he was adamant they weren't going anywhere without him.
A stalemate ensued; someone had to back down and that someone had to be me. Deep down I knew I could not concentrate on my studies with the thought of those three kids on my mind.
With the benefit of hindsight, would I have acted any differently? Not very likely. I just don't have it in me to be ruthlessly selfish in pursuit of a dream.
Perhaps I'm just weak-willed, but when it involves the children, I know they will always come first, at whatever cost.
The Road Not Taken (Robert Frost, 1915)
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, 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 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.