Have you ever played with the thought? The what if of your life or even someone else’s life?
I’m guessing we all have.
Sitting around making up ideas in our mind of how things would have been if we’d made different decisions in the past.
We think that we see plausible outcomes of those decisions.
If I’d gotten together with him, we would have been so happy!
If I’d taken that job I would have been so much further in my career right now!
If I’d studied more I would have known where to go next!
But the truth is that there are too many small factors that play in to the circle of our lives to ever know where anything would have gone. Maybe that man you didn’t end up with would have made you miserable even though he’s the best friend you’ve ever had. Maybe he wasn’t boyfriend material for you. Maybe that company that you chose not to work for had the most horrible boss. Maybe that would have gone bankrupt in a few years. Maybe you would have hated it.
Maybe studying more would have made you even more confused than you were when you started.
Or even worse, what if you found out that the what if part of your life was so much better than the one you’re leading right now? Would you really want to know when there’s nothing you could to get back to that moment when you chose a certain path of life?
I’ve reflected over this (even written short stories about it) more than a few times and my conclusion is this:
I will never stop having what if thoughts, but instead of lingering over them and troubling myself sick with the “real” possibilities of it I use what I see as outcomes of different choices as material in my writing.
Cause when you think about it, there is nothing we can do to change our past. What’s done is done. You can try to make new choices in the life you lead now, but if you choose an option you also had in the past it will still be different from of you’d have chosen it back then because you’re different.
Every path we take makes us who we are, for better or for worse. We learn from our mistakes and from others mistakes even. And as cliché as it may sound it is true that life is too short to linger over the past. Turn it into something productive but don’t let the choices of your life put you down. You have to look forward and think about all the possibilities life has to offer you right now if you’re willing to take them.
The past is history wrapped in a mystery, but right now is your only chance to shape your future!