Oct 6, 2010

The What If Game

As you get older, it gets easier and easier to play the "What If Game." I am mostly happy with the life I have now, but it makes me curious to know what would be different and what would be the same if things were altered. If I made different choices in my life, or different things happened to me. Such as:

What if I had never gotten cancer?
-This is probably the biggest what if. Would I have gotten into sports in high school instead of homeschooling, would I have had different friends, done better in school, gone to a more prestigious/accredited college? Would I be the same person I am now?

What if I hadn't gone on a mission?
-I was told by my Stake President that, because of my health circumstances/situation/cancer-survivoriness, I was exempt from the 'requirement' of serving a mission. I (gratefully) chose to go anyway, though I often wonder what my life would be like if I hadn't. Would I have as strong of a testimony? Would I have graduated college already? Would the people I taught still have joined the church?

What if I hadn't come to Utah after my mission?
-I prayed asking where to go after my mission, and Utah, Idaho, and Virginia all seemed like viable options. I chose Utah because there was a girl here I wanted to date, but I ended up marrying a different one. If I hadn't gone to Utah, would I have met Tracie some other way? Where would Tracie and I be today if we'd never met?

There are lots and lots of other what ifs, like what if I hadn't worked at iArchives? (the place I met Tracie), What if I chose something else as my Make-A-Wish? (Instead of painting in Italy) What if I had been called to a foreign speaking mission? What if my brother Aaron was still alive? What if we never moved from California? What if we didn't have Morgan? As I said, getting older begs you to ask these questions about the seeming endless possibilities of life and how you managed to take your own path for better or for worse, and not see any other way you would have rather gone.

Think about how many occurrences and choices sculpted you into the person you are living the life you now have. How easily such a tiny choice can affect so many people.

In the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,

These are indeed exceptions; but they show
How far the gulf-stream of our youth may flow
Into the arctic regions of our lives,
Where little else than life itself survives.

I am grateful every day for the choices I made, the things I chose and did and the things I chose not to do, what happened and what I made happen, for they all made me who I am.


Ammon said...

If "if's" and "buts" were candy and nuts, then we'd all have a merry Christmas.

Life's too short to dwell on the if only's of the past. Gotta keep on truckin', know what I mean Vern?

Mark said...

"We love you just the way you are" (cue Stevie Wonder music)

Charlo said...

I hate the what if game.

What's done is done.
That's why I'm so indecisive. I take a ridiculously cautious approach to things, then don't live in the past.

If I hadn't met brett, I'd have made a career in hamster wheel engineering, but I did meet brett, so it really doesn't matter.

Austin said...

Maybe I should have been more clear, which I thought I was.

I wasn't saying "If only If only," I'm trying to say "Isn't it amazing how different our lives could have been with seemingly tiny changes? I am so grateful for the life I have."

And Ammon, Vern knows what you mean, but if candy and nuts are all you need to have a merry Christmas, I know what I'll be getting you this year. ;)

Dad- Thanks. Me too. And that's a Billy Joel song, not Stevie Wonder. Though Joel did say it reminded him of an old Stevie Wonder song, so there ya go.

Charlo-I'm confused. Why can't you still be a hamster wheel engineer? I bet Brett could help you be the most successful hamsterwheeler in all the land.

JanB said...

I know exactly how you're thinking. Jim and I play that game ALL the time!