There are few singular words that evoke power. Yes, No, Life, Death.
There are more words when strung together can evoke emotional, sometimes physical reactions. I Love You, I’m Coming Home, I’m Leaving You.
But there are only two words when put together, can make you second guess every decision you’ve ever made in your life. What If…..
I was faced with a situation a few weeks ago that made me confront a decision I had made some twenty years ago. For twenty-four hours I asked myself, What If… I relived in my mind a time in my life when I could have moved to another state, married another man, ultimately changing his life and mine.
To be honest, I knew in a certain sense this option remained open to me. Not exactly under the previous terms but it had been made clear to me many times all I needed to do was board that plane and the choice could be revisited. I have to say that, in a way, it was a comfort. I had options. Options are always good. In the meantime I chose to look the other way, ignore it, go down the path that led away from him instead of toward him.
Roughly six weeks ago, I reached out to him. Nothing big. I needed some information about a project I was working on and I knew he could help me with it. He was always there at the other end of the line. Not once in twenty years had he failed me on that account. This time, though, was different. He wasn’t there to pick up my call. He wasn’t on MSN Messenger where in the past, whenever I would sign in, he always seemed to be there already or would show up soon thereafter. Every few days for four weeks I logged in and was met with an empty chat room. Then I became concerned. I didn’t have any contact information for his extended family who lived nearby so I googled his last name, his city, searching for information on his siblings. I never did find their number but I did find him. His obituary stated he had died March 27, 2012, after a brief, sudden illness.
I no longer had options. My boarding pass to that plane had expired – the flight not only delayed, but canceled. Thus began my journey backwards in time twenty years and I kept asking myself: What If…
Now I don’t need to go into here how my life would have changed or his. Trust me, it would have been dramatic. Some good, some not so good – for me and for him. And I don’t need to tell you if I regret or applaud my decision oh so many years ago.
Right about here, you’re probably mumbling ‘then, does she have a point?’. Well, actually, yes I do.
Our most fundamental, human right, is the right to choose. As soon as we begin to walk and talk, we claim that right. Think about it. Just about every moment of every day we make a choice that can later be turned into a What If… From what you ate at breakfast, to steering your car towards home at the end of a long day rather than the open highway. I don’t know about you, but I’ve often wondered what if I just kept on driving just to see where it takes me. How cool – what a story (!) – that would make. How different would it make your life. What if…
Do you have a “What If” story? I’m sure you do. Everyone has that one point in their past when they can see that intersection and which direction they placed their turn signal. What most DON’T understand is that we go through that same intersection every.single.day. It’s never too late to use that boarding pass or exchange it for a new destination – not unless your flight gets canceled.
So be courageous, be daring, LIVE LIFE – Refunds are not permitted.