Sometimes I think what if...
... I had gone to school somewhere else and studied something else?!
I was walking around Princeton's campus, last Saturday, and I thought... in another life. Not too far from my own, I went to school here. I went to a University where learning was just in the air. Walking around I thought of studying Philosophy and Writing. Or History. Maybe not History. To have your brain challenged and to know things. To gain real varied knowledge. What would I do? Teach? At a University? A a writer with a column for a Newspaper? A novelist? A psychiatrist? What if I had ended up in something I cannot even imagine? With a cubicle somewhere where I put up pictures, and obsess about specific types of pens. Would I have met my beau at Princeton? Would we have run into each other between classes? Would we have fallen in love then?
... I had grown up somewhere else?
I'm on an Amtrak train, right now, taking the ride from New York to Boston. All these picturesque little towns. Brick and wood houses. Trains that pass through. White washed buildings. The visible quiet. That is someone's life. What if I had an upbringing with fall colors and lakes with boats that sit oh so still? Who would I be? A different culture to be brought up in. Or would we have been the same family, just misplaced in a quiet town. Would we have brought the salsa music?!
... I had fallen in love with something else a profession?
What would I do? No idea. Sometimes I wish I could imagine it. Or that I had a more clear vision of what my life was going to look like as it is! This industry doesn't always allow that. And somehow, my what if, tends to believe that other professions and people have more clarity and that clarity is very good. Solid and reasonable. But I don't know if that's true. We all have to figure things out. We all go through the same 'stuff' no matter the profession. The things we interpret as our singular, very unique, only we feel the pain of that one thing and no one else could possibly understand!! All that stuff has been experienced by generations of people. Shared experiences. In fact, we experience a lot of the same things over and over again in our own lifetimes. My dad and Stephen Covey refer to it as a spiral staircase. We encounter similar people and challenges and each time are equipped with new life experiences to face them with. People fall in love over and over. You meet that person who reminds you of that bully in 3rd grade. A person who sees you like your 7th grade English teacher did. It is just a function of being a human in the world.
Whatif by Shel Silverstein
Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow tall?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!
Sometimes... letting my mind wander into the land of what ifs just makes me really happy about the life that is my own.