Last week, Krysten wrote a post about the “what if’s” of her life, and I thought it would be an interesting post to write about my own life because I play the “what if” game a lot. It can be futile, but sometimes it’s interesting to look back on your life and wonder about what it would look like if it had taken a different path.
What if… I had been accepted into the University of Florida and had a true college experience? Would I have joined a sorority and made lifelong friends and memories? Would I have gotten my degree in education instead of journalism? Would I have dated more, become more independent? Would my life be on a completely different trajectory than it is today?
What if… my father had been a regular guy, not one with a gambling addiction, and my parents had a happy, healthy marriage? Would I have had a more stable childhood, where dinner was always at six, dads mowed the lawn and played with their kids on weekends, and moms didn’t worry about the next time their husbands will hit them? How would my relationships with men be different – would being in healthy romantic relationships be the norm, not the exception? Then again…
What if… my mom had never left my father? Would my father have gotten better? Would he have made a change, been a better father and husband? Or would he have gotten worse? Would he have taken bigger gambling risks or tried harder drugs? Would my mom had even made it out of her marriage alive?
What if… I hadn’t failed my teaching internship? Would I have graduated with my education degree and become an elementary school teacher? Would I be happy with that career path? Would it have fulfilled me?
What if… I didn’t struggle with weight problems? Would I be happier, more satisfied with myself and my life? Would I have more friends and a fuller social calendar? Would I have had more romantic relationships? Would I have had the self confidence to go after my dreams?
What if… I had gotten married young? Would I still be married? Would I be a mother by now or still happily childless? Would I still be living in Florida? Would my life seem more complete?
What if… I had declined my great-aunt’s offer to adopt her older dog, Dutch, because I wanted a younger dog? Would I have found another dog that brought me as much joy and happiness as he does? Or would I have gone the past seven years without a dog? (That sounds so sad, though!)
What if… I hadn’t quit my soul-sucking marketing job to join my current company? Would I still be as miserable with my career as I was then? Would I have gotten any promotions, any raises? Would I still feel unconfident and discontent with myself because I was drowning in a terrible job and volatile work environment? Would I have found other ways to find fulfillment in my life, other than through my career?
What if… I hadn’t had the courage to attend that first book club meeting? Would I still have an empty social calendar, still relying entirely on the Internet for friendship and support? Would my daily life be lonely and empty if I had never joined this little book club I found on Meetup.com? Would I still be sitting on the couch, wishing I could take a chance and join a group and meet new people, but not having the courage to do so?
What if… I hadn’t gone on that first cruise in 2011 and found my favorite way to travel? Would I still think traveling wasn’t for me, only taking small weekend trips to Orlando? Would I have traveled at all these past few years, or would I have let the fear of the unknown keep me from new experiences and places?
As fun as this experience was, looking at the past and imagining the “what if’s,” we can’t get caught up in them. They really don’t matter because it’s not our reality. Everything that happened – every good thing, bad thing, heartbreak, joy – has happened for a reason; it has gotten me to where I am today. And where I am today is a place I am so satisfied with. I’ve built a life I truly love. And there’s no better feeling than that.
What are some of your “what if’s?”