life, thoughts

The ‘What If’ Factor

This time of year has gotten me thinking about the ‘what if’s.’ You know … what if I had made different decisions … or nature made a different decision for me? What alternate path would my life have taken, and how would I have handled it?

stcharlpath3 (800x460) wmWithout a family, holidays feel so desolate. What if nature would’ve allowed me to have children? How would my life be today? Would my grown children even visit me for Christmas? I don’t know. Would I have recognized the blessing of having a family if I had one all along?

What if my husband and I chose not to move from our hometown in Illinois to Florida? The cost of living had made it so we couldn’t afford to live there at the time. Would we have gone bankrupt … maybe even divorced over money matters? People don’t visit us in Florida, would they have if we stayed in Illinois? Would my husband still be stumping body work with icy metal and rust to repair? He was able to move up in job positions here. Would I have ever been able to stay home to write and become a published author?

There are so many different scenarios for paths that my life could’ve taken. We also considered adoption, what if we had taken that route? Would our children want to spend the holiday with us, or would they have found their biological parents and spent it with them? At one time, we looked into moving to Colorado. What would life be like if we lived there?

Sometimes, I feel like I took a turn that led me to living the wrong life. I can vividly envision my life on one of those alternate paths.

stcharlpath (800x409) wmOther times, when I forget to be grateful for this road I’m on, something happens that makes me realize … I’m just where I need to be.

I’ve always loved the quote by Joseph Campbell, “We must be willing to [let go] of the life we’ve planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” This saying helped me move forward with the childfree life that was waiting for me.

Don’t misunderstand, I’m perfectly contented in my present life and very grateful for the blessings bestowed upon me.

As a writer, imagining alternative lives I could’ve lived keeps my imagination flowing with new ideas. In fact, the novel I’m shopping now is taken from an alternate idea of what might’ve happened.

Do you ever wonder what your life would be like if you had made a different decision? Have you had to let go of something in order to live the life that is waiting for you?

P.S. To those who read this post, may miracles be recognized for you this holiday season, with blessings throughout the new year and beyond.

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19 thoughts on “The ‘What If’ Factor”

  1. “What If” can certainly be either a downer or an upper. I have grown children. Do they spend holidays with me. No, rarely. They have their own traditions.
    There are days I wish I had made different choices, however, as the saying goes, That ship has sailed! I make the most of each day (most of the time) because, truly, that U.S. All we have.
    Thank you for the good wishes for this brand new year.

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    1. “Is” I dislike the iPad choosing words for me and I dislike my not checking before I hit reply. Best always to check because “what if” IPad is substituting the wrong words. Makes for funny reading!

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    2. Hi Linda. Thanks for sharing your experience. Sometimes, I mistakenly think that if I had kids, things would be different and we’d have a family for the holidays. That’s not always the case. Too bad we don’t live close by. Oh, and yes, I’ve dealt with auto-correct before and the funny sentences it can create. πŸ˜‰ Good to see you.

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  2. I do wonder about that sometimes. If I’d taken the teaching job in China after college or if I hadn’t fallen for that guy… So many things would be different. I would be different. But then I think I’m pretty happy with who I am and the life I have and there’s no guarantee I would be if I’d made different choices. πŸ™‚

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    1. I completely get it, Kourtney. I know for sure if I hadn’t moved from my hometown, I would never have learned the lessons I needed and received from the move. I still can’t help but imagine how different things would be had I made different choices. Thanks so much for sharing about your decisions.

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  3. Great post, Lori. I really do not spend much time thinking about what might have been. I’e always felt that whatever decisions I’ve made to get me here were, at the time, the best decision I could have reached. I don’t spend much time revisiting them. Well, I do regret one decision again and again, usually every Friday night. Why, oh, why didn’t I chose the winning lottery numbers? πŸ˜€
    I hope you and all you hold dear, Lori, enjoy a very memorable Holiday Season and a wonderful 2015.

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    1. I usually don’t wonder about my decisions, but for some reason, this year I am. If nothing else, they give me ideas for future novels.
      I wonder on Friday night, why I forgot to buy a lotto ticket altogether. Haha. Thanks for sharing your perspective, and for the nice wishes, John.

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  4. I like to believe that at any given point in our lives we make decisions with the help of tools available to us at the time. If we have limited experiences to guide us, then that will be a part of what shapes our decisions. As we grow, our toolbox may provide us with more options, but at each point along the way, we do the best we can with what we have. So never look back and regret. Just think – I did the best I could at the time.

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    1. I like the analogy of using what we have in our tool box. I do believe that each of my decisions helped me to grow, and they certainly were what we needed at the time. Thanks for reading and sharing this profound perspective, Anneli.

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  5. Very interesting post, it was like flipping through a “wasn’t meant to be” photo album. Especially for me as I rarely look back in that way and if I make any plans at all, it’s always with the awareness that “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.
    If anything, I tend to look at the less than optimal choices I didn’t make for which I’m grateful, as opposed to the less than optimal choices I did make but survived!
    Because I never really had any plans, it’s those series of choices (both the good and the lesson providing) that have made my life what it is. I’m happy enough with that πŸ™‚
    Thank you for the lovely well wishes. All the best to you and yours as well.

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    1. Aside from wondering what my life would’ve been like if I had kids, I don’t usually question my decisions, but for some reason, this holiday season I am. I like how you’re grateful for both the good and the not-so-good choices you’ve made. I know that all of my choices have helped me to grow, and I’m grateful for that, too. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, EllaDee. And, for the best wishes.

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  6. That’s one of my favorite quotes, Lori. I just plug along living the life I have. Honestly I don’t really ever think about different choices I might have made. I would say it’s probably a result of the health issues I’ve battled for many years. I’m thankful when my body feels good and allows me to live my life. Maybe that’s why I love writing, it allows me to play the “what if” game. πŸ™‚

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    1. I can certainly understand with your health issues, being thankful for the times you’re feeling good. Aside from wondering what my life would’ve been like if I had kids, I don’t usually question my decisions, but for some reason, this holiday season I am. After mulling it over, I do think the choices I made were the right ones. But yes, “what if” games do help with the writing process. Good to see you, Jill. Thanks for reading.

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  7. I have that Joseph Campbell quote printed out and displayed on my desk. I’m not sure if you’re the first one who introduced me to it or not, but it’s a good one. Great premise for a novel, by the way.

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    1. Hi Charlie. I just noticed that wordpress sent your comment to spam and I don’t know why. Thank you for your comment, and yes, the “what ifs” can certainly be difficult. Thankfully, writing it out on my blog helped. Hope you are enjoying the holidays. Happy New Year.

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