Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What if...

Oh, the what ifs...

What if I had chosen to attend a different college? I never would have met my family of friends, my husband- never would have found our home. Almost every facet of my life today would be drastically altered.

What if Titanic hadn't sped up that night? Maybe it could have dodged that iceberg and made history with a successful voyage across the Atlantic.
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What if she had taken the loan I offered for her rent and stayed here to continue school? Would she still be alive today, be-bopping around town with her shining green eyes and singsong voices?

But, man. There's no going back.
Do you do this to yourselves as well?

There are so many times when I feel compelled to wonder what might have happened if one choice, one moment in time was somehow flipped. I suppose, anyone with a shred of imagination considers the infinite possibilities from time to time.

For me, maybe it started back in the days when I'd get lost reading those Choose Your Own Adventure books. Oh, come on. You were reading them, too. What a brilliant concept...creating the framework of a story that gives the reader control to choose.
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When I originally discovered these stories, I'd do as I was told- make my choice and then "turn to page 53" to learn my fate. But after a few lessons were learned, you know...after I fell into a volcano, got lost in deep space and savagely attacked by Sasquatch- like any crafty lil' devil, I wised up.

After the ole' side glance to make sure I was alone, DUH, I'd weigh my options- and I'd cheat. Of COURSE I was gonna check to see which choice was better. Pffft! I'd check page 16 to see if I'd find Atlantis there or if that was the path leading to the gargantuan evil octopus. And then I'd shrewdly turn to page 77 for the happier ending. Obviously, right?!?

If only the non-fiction of our own lives came with options. Be there are no magic wands in real life, and once you turn the page here, you're stuck in the plot.

There are times when it's thrilling to imagine "what ifs"-

What if we win the Mega Millions tonight? (See? I'm doing it right now, envisioning a yacht with all my friends and family onboard, traveling the world in style. Yeah. I've hit up this particular "what if" before.)
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There are times when the "what ifs" are absurd. What if there's some creepy smiling psycho lurking behind that curtain right now. (Don't pretend you haven't run up the stairs because you thought someone was behind you, too.)
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And there are times when the "what ifs" can shake you down through the marrow in your bones. What if that phone call is bad news?

Oh, I'm a big fan of a healthy imagination, but there are some times when it's wise to close the book on the "what ifs" and accept the page we've turned to. There are other chapters to read, countless books on the shelves, new characters to meet and so many more adventures to choose.

So "what if" we spent a little more time living in the NOW, in the chapter that is bookmarked especially for us? I do love a good mystery, but instead of flipping pages to find my fate, I'm opting to write this story... choosing the ultimate adventure of living in the moment.
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Anonymous said...

Is it strange that I went through the step by step of what would happen if I won the mega millions LITERALLY like 3 days ago? great minds think alike ;) ...more like wishful minds!

Unknown said...

Ooooh...I could go on and on about that wish. Funniest thing is that my husband and I actually got into a fight once over what we would do with the money once we won the lotto. What a bunch of weirdos we are. But P.S.- my plan is WAY more fun. :)

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