There were two roads and I took the one with the promise of Starbucks

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.

If only my high school English teacher could see me now! *Sighs in melancholy*

If you are unaware of this poem, it is “The Road Not Taken” written by Robert Frost in 1916. This poem is controversial and beautiful and has everything to do with my horrible “play on words” title of this blog post. -__-

When I first read this poem, I thought about its meaning and took away what I think is most commonly taken away…take the road less traveled, it will make “all the difference.” But, as I sat with my Pro/Con lists of staying in Spain another year or going home, I was reminded of what this poem truly means.

One thing I love about stories is that sometimes, the right one stumbles into your lap at the most opportune moment. This poem was that for me.

These past few weeks I have been stressed. I’ve been stressed because for the first time in my life, my future isn’t exactly clear. I have always been the A B C D E F G-plan type. This is to say that I’ve never-not known what I was going to be doing with my life in the foreseeable future. Until now.

When making those plans, back-up plans and back-up, back-up plans, I always would consider them as second best (or third, or fourth, blah, blah…) But as my list kept getting longer on both sides of staying and leaving, I realized my plans were all the same.

To give a little back-story I have been battling my decision to stay in Spain for about a month now. I can’t describe the feeling or even the moment it happened, but out of nowhere the thought of not staying in Spain wrestled in my mind. It could have been the disappointment of not getting the job I wanted…but in the end, I’ve never been so happy to not get a job in my life. It could have been the roommate and man drama in my life…but those things seem to follow me wherever I go (some call it life, I’m pretty sure it’s just me). Or it could have been the fact that I miss my family…eight months without seeing them is looking pretty bleak. But I think the best explanation is that I just wanted to look at a different path.

Back in October, I made up my mind that I wanted to stay in Spain. This decision was made because my first month was awful and in October things started to look up. There was a change in the weather and also in my mood. Spain was amazing, why would I even consider leaving?

So I didn’t. I didn’t consider leaving because I was set in my decision.

But fast-forward six months and here I am, finally allowing myself to not look at going home as “failure” but instead as a plausible option. I changed my mind. I allowed myself to consider another option and whereas it has caused me many sleepless nights, I am happy it did.

The truth is, both options aren’t perfect. Staying means pushing off my dream of being a teacher another year and going homes means living with my parents while hunting for that dream job. One I get to live in Europe another year, the other, I get to be home with a new baby nephew while working towards a teaching job. My two paths; both equally as beautiful and beaten…ok, I’ll stop the path analogy; I’m getting annoyed with myself as well.

The point is, just like the poem says…

“…And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.”

…my options are equal.

But I have still have to make a choice right?

And I have. I have made the decision to come home. Yes, that’s right, Makenna Schrader is coming stateside. For good (well, I think…but who knows really?)

Now I could go through that list of pros and cons and tell you how I made my decision and probably change the story to make it sound like that was the better option. People have also told me “I can always come back and live in Spain if I want to.” And I’ve entertained those ideas, but here is why I am not going to do either of those things.

In this poem, Frost acknowledges these thoughts too,

“…Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.”

He tells himself that he will “come back,” but he knows deep in his heart that he will most likely never come back. It’s funny, because it’s true! In order to lessen the blow of giving up one option, we always say that we can come back and try that decision another day. We do this because accepting the fact that we will never have this opportunity again is heartbreaking. By choosing to go home, I am most likely giving up this chance to ever do it again; people can keep saying there’s a chance, but in my heart I know I’ll never live in Spain again (visit, of course, live, probably not).

A little bit of a depressing poem…but wait, there’s more!

The best part of the poem just so happens to be the most famous part that has been quoted for years.

“…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.”

What I think Frost wants to convey and what I think I take away from this is that when making a decision, after telling ourselves we can go back, we end up making up this idea that we chose the less traveled road in the end. We like to say that we “made the right decision” because it helps with the idea that we missed out on the other.

Still depressed? Don’t be.

During the past few weeks I have been trying to find the “deal breaker” the one thing between the two that I can’t miss out on. I do this with a lot of decisions and I think we’ve been trained to do so all of our lives. But I think what Frost is trying to show and that should give hope instead of depression, is that regardless of the choice, either way, it will be ok…or not My options were equal, I gave up something with both…I just needed to pick one.

So what does that mean? Even though I haven’t lived this one through yet, this is what I am taking away from my decision.

I’m choosing Starbucks. I’m choosing living with my parents at twenty-three years old. I’m choosing expensive coffee over cheap. I am choosing small town USA over traveling Europe. I’m choosing a stateside adventure over a European one. And that’s ok. Instead of making up some story about how one is better than the other, I have opted to simply listen to that voice in my head (as I was mid-downward dog I might add #yoga4lyfe) that said, “You want to go home.” That’s it.

My advice is to make the pros and con lists. Think about your decision. Consider every possibility. But above all of it, just make the decision. Each decision will lead to hard times and each will lead to some amazing memories, don’t resent the one you don’t choose, be thankful for the opportunity to be able to choose.

I am a college-educated, independent, and well-travelled individual. I am going home jobless, with all the ambition and promise of that decision.  It wasn’t the better option, nor was it the worst, but I made the decision regardless…“and that has made all the difference.”

Un abrazo fuerte.

Nos vemos July 31st USA.



Makenna Schrader

Poem and explanations were aided by: 


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