I’m intrigued by the idea of critical points in our own personal timeline, the moments at which our own decisions or actions profoundly change it. What if I’d turned left instead of right? Would my life have been totally different, or is my destiny inescapable? In some other universe, or set of universes, did I learn to fly and am I living a different life?
For example, when I was in college, I wanted to do something technical. Math is not my strong suit, though, and after a couple of quarters I decided engineering wasn’t for me and decided on technical writing instead. (Blech!) What if I’d decided to stick with it instead, and become an engineer or architect? Would I have ended up a project manager anyway, since I’m wired as an organizer?
On a more personal level, what if I’d had more confidence about men, and not married the first one I seriously dated? This is the man who is now my ex, but is also the father of my children. It was a disastrous, painful, humbling marriage that cost me my faith and much of my sanity. Would I have chosen someone else equally as problematic? Did life need to teach me those lessons to grow and have compassion? I certainly adore and am fiercely proud of my sons, and am grateful for having them in my life.
And later, what if I hadn’t come to Alaska to meet Bryan? Would I have met him somewhere else through chance or intention? Could I have met him earlier in college? Or in Portland, or on a vacation to Alaska? Or could I have found someone else who loved me as wonderfully, and made a life with that person instead?
Our lives are a sum total of moments in time, some of which we experience passively and some of which we define by our choices. What if there are an infinite number of choice-defined universes out there, each containing different versions of me and of everyone else? Are we somehow aware of those dual, triple, multiple choices at some level? Do they create tension and conflict in our subconscious? Are these other paths happier? Sadder? Saner? Do they have taxes and universal health care?
I can only live in this universe, with the choices I’ve made, though, and do my best to learn from each one and grow from each experience I’m given.