Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What if?

Do you know how some days information comes at you and you digest it and move on? Then others it just sticks. I'm in the sticky place today. Not the sad sort of sticky or even melancholy sort. Just the sort of truly thoughtful, reflective sort of sticky. The fact that 9/11 and Yom Kippur are two days apart this year is striking, and not lost on me in my train of thought.

There are so many things that stop people in their tracks; causing them to reevaluate and question. But it seems to me that the older and (sometimes) wiser I get;  the more I become aware that most of us just move. Head down, onward, without much thought. How many of us really take the time to evaluate our happiness? How often do we think about the "what ifs"?

Too often the "what ifs" do not come until you are hit with them like a ton of bricks. So few people are lucky enough to see the forest through the trees, take and leap of faith and go after what will make them fulfilled. No one ever wants to find out that they are ill, but the clarity that it provides is often enviable to others. You'd never wish that on yourself or anyone you care about. But I do sometimes wish for the vision. I have watched so many people in my life suffer and each handled it differently. I envy those who do so with patience and grace and mourn for those who did it in denial and pain.

If I found out tomorrow that my time was limited, I want to believe that I would throw caution to the wind and chose only what made me happy and fulfilled. Then, I wonder why we can't do that every day? Not in big ways every day. But choosing ourselves sometimes, without guilt or worry. Without owing an explanation. Choosing happy over status quo or good enough.

And then what about those who are gone in an instant and leave behind only others to wonder about their regrets, their "what ifs." Regret is a part of life, of course. But the big ones, the life changing ones...can we chose to "what if" past those regrets?

Maybe a good start is to start with a "what if" list. A reasonable, kind and generous list that provides a reality check against real life. Perhaps, a good first step.