Friday, January 23, 2009


Whenever I drift off, I wander back in time, reliving the past while cognizant of my future.

I endlessly daydream about finding my 41 year old brain in the body of some earlier version of myself.

I imagine how I would respond to things differently, explore what choices, priorities, activities and friends would change.

For example, I recently reconnected with a guy that went to my high school.

I remembered his ongoing and hilarious English class commentary whispered from the seat behind me.

How would my life have been different if I had made a friend of him then?

My mind wanders, I play scenes from my past out in new ways in my head.

I wonder about other old classmates. Who were the kids in my class who didn’t go to all the keg parties?

What did they do instead?

What did I miss in not knowing them?

Who did they turn out to be and would they seem more interesting to me now?

I dream up conversations never held.

I imagine my old brain forcing my young body to swim laps, something I’m committed to now but wasn’t then.

Would that young body seem out of shape because I didn’t exercise regularly or would I be amazed at its youthful power?

I see myself at our old YMCA pool in my home town.

I think about my parents and wonder how they would seem.

They were younger than I am now when I was in high school.

How interesting it would be to witness them almost like peers.

Yesterday I found myself daydreaming like this again.

Just out of college, I pursued a different career path. Because I knew the future, I found and followed someone I knew would turn out to be a rising star.

I played out my life in this different profession.

The thing is, these reveries always come to the same abrupt end.

I follow the path too far and am suddenly desperate to find a way to meet my husband – or if I have found him (in the daydream) earlier in life (because I know who he is and what he will mean to me), then I scramble not to alter our future.

It happens like this every time... I imagine myself walking down a different life path and then, desperately try to make the pieces of this one fall into place.

If I could live parts of my past over again, I’d be afraid to do things too differently lest I miss the road that led me to K, and subsequently The Mayor and The Rooster.

I don't think I create these scenarios because of any specific regrets.

Everything I’ve chosen has led me here and made me who I am.

I’m where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing, with all the right people.

Still, over and over again, my mind wanders down these different paths, exploring ways things might have been.

I wonder what it is that draws me in again and again.


3 of 365: Today's random list of little things for which I'm grateful...

[ SUEBOB loves the Grace in Small Things idea so much she hopes all participants will leave their daily lists in her blog's comments section.]


Anonymous said...

I'm impressed with any length of Butterfly. I also think what-if's, though mine are usually wishfulness. If only I'd done more, written more, learned more, started younger...but I also come back to this. My family now. I wouldn't want it any other way.

Anonymous said...

Mid life crisis. :)

Margaret said...

Have you ever read "replay""

flutter said...

oh how I love you

Louise said...

Did you ever read any "Choose Your Own Adventure" books? I don't know when they first started coming out but as a little girl I was hooked. The end of a chapter would have two or three choices: "if...then turn to page 92." I would play out every possible combination of scenarios. And I find I do this in life, too--about both the past and the future

kittenpie said...

Isn't this what daydreams are about, though? Exploring the what-ifs, living out little fantasy scenarios in harmless ways, without having to actually try it out and endanger what we do have? I mean, don't we all have our Oscar speeches written? (no? just me?) Doesn't mena I want to run away to LA and try my luck at the film industry. No way.

She She said...

I thought I was the only one who did this. I do it all the time, and always wind up trying to finagle it so I end up where I am now (more fit, more interesting job, but the principals in place). I wonder if it isn't just a sort of reconciliation.

Sayre said...

I go there when my birthday looms. Every year, there is an accounting of sorts, where my mind goes where it could have been, then thinks about how things are now. Even though there are great chunks of my past that were awful in one way or another, I wouldn't erase them because they are part of what made me who I am today. And I like who I am now. Except for the saggy skin. And the fat. And heck, if I hate those things that much, I can always change them!

Celeste said...

I have to leave the what ifs alone or I will get sad about the choices I did make.

SUEB0B said...

You are a special kind of friend. Short-bus kind of special.

John Ross said...

Boy-howdy-gurl, you DO get to the heart of the matter dontcha? your day dreams - OH, yeah - been there, do that, A LOT....but, as you've said, then we probably wouldn't have gotten to the good things in our lives now.

Yes, I miss some things I've lost, or not ever had, due to my wild & wayward mind set of youth...wonder about those people from high school whose name i have no recollection of, but who know me, just by my voice, when I encounter them in my old home town. Why didn't I notice them, and was I THAT notorious in high school, that my escapades are still remembered, thirty years later?

RE: SUEBOB'S - my daughter(who's an educator) calls that little RED bus special - when you're special enough that you think the little yellow bus is red...bad, i know.

matt lohkamp said...

I frequently wish for the chance to redo parts of my past, knowing then what I know now, but you're right, I wouldn't want to follow through. I like my current situation far too much to risk altering anything. I could probably swing it and come out ahead of where I am now, but there are so many little things that effect your 'destiny', I figure it's better to just be sure of the choices you make now, so that you can accept the outcome later and continue on.

Claire B. said...

I'm grateful that like you, each time I play out the "What if?" scenarios in my head I want them all to lead where and with whom I am. That is incredible good fortune, when I consider how many people want their "What ifs?" to lead them far away from the life they have. Great post!

Anonymous said...

I had a delayed LOL about your P.S. Suebob loves Grace... because I thought, really? and then I clicked over and read her blog. You are a special kind of evil friend. That was hilarious!


Little Monkies said...

I could go on about this one...

but in the interest of time, I clicked on the pic of Barack in his office and immediately wondered if he was like "what is up with the stupid cord on this phone???" I mean, seriously, it's so funny to see him on something OTHER than a cell.

I (heart) him.

And you.

Stella said...

that shot of Obama sent shivers down my spine!

I will sometimes think about the paths not taken- it's an interesting moment.

BOSSY said...

Wow. Life lesson. Bossy also regularly explores the various would-have-beens, and yet none lead to her current predicament. Interesting. Bossy wants to revisit this in a boozy hotel room in Chicago, 'kay?

Scribbit said...

THe "what ifs" can be overwhelming sometimes. It's scary to me how one tiny choice can entirely change the path of your life and you never really understand the importance of the event when you're in the middle of it.

Redneck Mommy said...

I never once attended a keg party.

Or hung out with the cool kids.

Yet here you and I are.

Friends. Always.

It hasn't been an easy road finding you, but I'm grateful I did.

ewe are here said...

I sometimes wonder what might have been, too, but I rarely regret most choices I've made... because they got me here. Like you, I wouldn't want to derail ending up where I am, with my lovely husband, boys and wee girl on the way.

Maddy said...

I don't go 'there' myself as that would just give me a headache, however I have been trying to fathom facebook to see if I can find some long lost pals - sadly my navigation skills aren't up to scratch.

Expatriate Chef said...

2700 yards? Rockstar. I'm struggling with making a mile. I'll get there.

Recently, on facebook, a highschool boyfriend contacted me. There he was with his FIVE grandkids, one older than my child.

I wish, though, that I had gotten to motherhood a couple years sooner so I could have another one without worry.

Otherwise, any path that would have missed having my kiddo, well, you are right, it would have been a wrong path.

Thanks for this post! Very much in common with my own thoughts.

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

I love this post.

nutmeg said...

"Everything I’ve chosen has led me here and made me who I am."

I have to embrace this, because then I know I wouldn't change a thing.

And am I such a shit to take weeks to thank you for the link love?

Yes. But I did just find it.

Were your ears ringing yesterday while the Philadelphia Bloggers all agreed that you are THE BEST? And I'm going to crash your party with Bossy in that Chicago hotel room!

Best of all, I just had to type 'buts' into your word verify to leave this comment!