Do you ever think about who you’d be if you’d been born a different gender? A different race? Born to a different family, or taken a different job years ago? Do you think about who you’d be now, if you’d said yes instead of no, or no, rather than yes?
Would you still be you?
What if Our Choices Make Us Better?
Some of the “what ifs” in our lives are more meaningful than others. Some of the small “what ifs” lead to bigger ones.
We can’t help but think about the “what ifs,” and the choices we’ve made. It can be paralyzing for future “what ifs,” if we let that happen. Mostly, though, I think we’re wired for hope, and for making decisions, even when sometimes, we don’t make a decision at all, and let what’s going to happen, happen. Which is, of course, a decision in itself.
I think about the “what ifs.” I wonder about all of the maybes. Some feel like they have the power to change who I am.
Or who I’ve been.
Some feel like burnt-out lightbulbs that used to have power, but are now a simple recycling problem.
What if I’d studied more in college, or high school? What if I’d studied less, and gone to more parties?
What if I told somebody how I felt when nothing mattered? What if I told somebody how I felt when everything mattered?
I wonder whether I’d still be me, had I been raised by she who birthed me. I wonder what happened the first week of my life in an adoption home. Did they hold me?
What if I’d married the bad boy I loved at 17, or the one I loved at 21? I think about how much of who I am is because I did marry the one I loved, back then. I wonder whether I’d be the same had we’d waited. Or if we’d stuck. I’m grateful that he gave me a love of Metallica. We’ve always had that, although we haven’t had us for a long time.
The jobs I’ve taken, the people I’ve left. The people I’ve hung onto, when it’s hard or easy. It’s often both.
Does holding an unbearable story for another mama change the person we hold it for? Does it change us? Holding stories of others helps all of us, because stories and memories have power over the future, even when we’re unable to change the past…but what if?
What if you’d made different choices?
Would you still be you?
What if I’d given up on dating when I was already past my prime baby-having years, after the one who gave me Metallica?
What if tomorrow weren’t my 10-year wedding anniversary married to this one?
What if I’d never have found him, in the sea of people living in DC? Him, from Tennessee. Me, from Colorado. Both of us here, together, with so many others.
In my 20’s, I pictured having a little girl or boy Calvin and Hobbes style. I’d chase them and laugh at beheaded snowmen in the driveway. Trick-or-treating in matching costumes that were funny or scary more for their uniqueness than their reality.
The “what if” that I have the hardest time letting go of today is the one that whispers to me. It whispers in the sunshine and in the night.
What if I’d had my son when I was younger? Would I be a better mother to him?
What if he had siblings at home? If I’d given birth at 30, it’d have been possible to have 1,001 babies. Or, two. Or something in between.
But then, I think about the aliens, and life lessons, and how at 30 years old, I still wasn’t yet all the way me.
About how I wasn’t yet married to the man I’ll celebrate 10 years of marriage with, tomorrow.
What if I’d realized I wasn’t fat, back when I thought I was fat?
Some become mamas in their teens, or 20’s. It’s popular to become a mama in your 30’s. And I tried, but became one at the age of 40.
While it’d be nice if my husband and I had our son when we were younger, we weren’t yet us back then.
We hadn’t even met. To risk changing time and age to be a younger mom might mess up everything else.
Specifically, it might mess up having this particular boy, in this particular time of him wanting a man bun, and him being exactly him.
So instead of looking at yesterday and the “what ifs,” I’m going to try and think about what I want to not regret, tomorrow, and in ten years.
Is one of my “what ifs” being younger, with an eight year old? Hellz yes. But also, having this boy, right now, is everything.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “The ‘what if’ I have the hardest time letting go of is…”