Free to choose my own path

What if I had turned left in the hallway at the college I was attending in the fall of 1980?
What if I had turned left and found a lounge chair in a window vestibule, and plopped myself there during a cancelled class instead of going to the cafeteria for a big cornmeal muffin and a coffee.
If I had turned left on that November morning some 33 years ago, how would my life be different today?
If I had turned left, I wouldn’t have met the man I married a year later after we met in the college cafeteria that day. If I had turned left, I wouldn’t have been punched during that marriage, which ultimately ended it—even though I spent seven more years in it trying to muster the courage to stand up.
I would venture to guess that I’m not the only one who has wished, at some point in life, that I could go back in time and change something in order to get a better outcome.
I think that’s part of the human experience—wishing things could be different sometimes—and fantasizing (or obsessing perhaps) about how, if given the chance to do it over again, how we would change a thing.
If I had turned left 33 years ago, it would have changed everything—perhaps resulted in some happier times but also would have denied me the birth of my three beautiful daughters.
So, no, I wouldn’t change a thing. Besides, that marriage not only gave me motherhood, it also taught me that I am courageous and brave-hearted.
I believe in the butterfly effect—that anomalous, mysterious interconnected web to which we all belong. If we truly could go back and change something in our past, it would change everything as we know it to be in our present day.
I wouldn’t do it.
Melody Beattie says it is easy to romanticize what we don’t know. I venture to say it also is easy to romanticize the past, too. But I think it is much more productive to make a storyboard for tomorrow, where possibility is alive and well.
I guess all this fodder has come up to greet me because it’s a new year and I want to meet it fully, and because I am approaching another of those cold memory days that a part of me begs to rewrite.
Frankly, I don’t want to because that would change today and I have some very good things in my “now.”
And as Beattie writes, and I concur, “Life is a high-risk sport, and I may become injured along the way. I agree that all the decisions I make are mine and mine alone, including how I choose to handle the events that are beyond my control.”
I am, in fact, about to sign a page-long waiver that Beattie created as my New Year’s resolution—one that will help me take responsibility for the choices I’m going to make in my life this year.
Left or right, it’s up to me the path I choose.

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