Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Which Path?

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood"....... begins the Robert Frost poem whose meaning scholars still can debate.  How are paths chosen in one's life?  Significant choices made or unmade? Selected or rejected?  A choice is easy with the benefit of hindsight. But decision-making in real time does not often offer that feature.  Pick A or B, but pick we must.

21 months ago I chose retirement after 40 years of working.  First of all, I recognize how fortunate I am to be able to have had the choice to retire - many don't. But was it a good choice?  Only now when I can look back can I try to answer that question.

The answer is yes and  no. Like many of life's choices, it isn't a black and white result. Yes, it's great to have my own schedule, yes it's great to not have to get up early and commute to work, yes it's great not to have to put up with mindless bureaucracy, yes it's great to have time to do much of what I want, yes it's great to be able to stop and smell the roses.  But the fact is, after a lifetime of work, what I seem programmed to do is work. I haven't figured out how to turn that off yet.  I miss the work and the people I worked with - they were a talented and committed group (and some should have been committed - just kidding). I miss the importance of what I did, the responsibility, the power, the intensity of the life in air traffic control.  Would I go back if magically I could? Which path would I choose?


  1. Two thoughts come to mind. Decisions themselves are neither good nor bad. As you point out, it is the outcome of those decisions viewed in hindsight that determine their impact. The other thought when looking back is that they always seem to have been a good idea at the time...