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What If

Do you ever remember the closed doors in your life and just wonder?

Do you ever consider what might have happened if, way back when, you said one different word or did one different thing? Uncertainty can bring about these convoluted questions, the kind that keep you up at night and make you doubt, just for a moment, who you are and how you got here. What if things had changed? What if I had taken that leap? What if I had said what I felt?

I’ve heard it stated that every second we are choosing to walk a certain path while everything in its midst gets left behind. Even the smallest steps forward leave a thousand other directions that will never be explored. Isn’t that crazy to think about? Last week, last night, this morning, you’ve made choices whose alternatives you will never be able to know. We go about our days without realizing this, because what good does it do to sit with ‘what ifs’ that will never become material truths? Yet they hang in the air, a haunting reminder that maybe, just maybe, there could have been another ending.

I’m going to be honest with you guys: I think about this stuff a lot, and it terrifies me. I’ve never been the world’s best at letting things go. In reality, I’m exceptionally awful at it. Too many times I’ve engaged in the most senseless self talk, blaming myself for allowing things to turn out the way they did. If something went badly, it must be my fault, glaring evidence of the fact that I will never be as good as I expect. Instead, I’m stuck with the questions in my own head, the girl who wonders if she screwed something up, if she said the wrong thing, if she made herself look like an idiot, again.

It could have been different. You could have considered this outcome. You could have kept it together and not been so stupid and maybe, for once, made people proud of you. 

What if, what if, what if.

The thing I’m starting to realize about this way of thinking is that it keeps us from seeing beauty in the raw, messy reality of being human, faced with a million choices and only one lifetime to live them out. While this makes our decisions more impactful, it also makes them more uncertain, which explains that stubborn question that we might be reaching the wrong conclusions. Life is scary because it’s our one shot–the only chance we have to write a story in this world that’s worth telling. And there will always, always, always be what ifs and reservations and mistakes. Doors close, windows open, people come into our lives and leave them, and it’s never quite as tidy or as graceful as we might like to believe it should be. Sometimes it’s the very opposite.

But know this: You are worth celebrating, you are worth messing up and you are worth more than those untold endings. What if you started closing doors with just a hint of faith in the ones you opened? What if your one life became a triumph in making choices, good and bad, and owning them with all the courage you could muster? What if you wrote your own narrative and didn’t apologize for a moment?

Own your truth, let go, tell your story. What if it made you exactly who you are?


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