Occasionally through the years, in moments of contemplation, I've thought about how an individual’s life might be different from the one they have, based on circumstantial changes in their activities, events, residences, other variables, earlier in their life. What if, at various times, anywhere along the way, the twists and turns of choices and changes affecting them were made in directions other than the ones they did experience, thus leading to different outcomes or destinations?
I don't think about this for myself, generally, from a sense of regret. I think about it more from a standpoint of curiosity. I wonder how others view that question? I've thought, wouldn't life be interesting if we could just put on hold whatever our existence was at a given time. Then, we could go off on an alternate route, full well knowing we could come back to the place we were before, then resume life where we left off.
As for myself, I experienced events at five or six years of age I would like to have avoided on both a personal and family level. One that comes to mind is having the spokes of a moving bicycle wheel, over which I was sitting behind the rider’s seat, become entangled with my foot. The wheel spokes penetrated my ankle, though thankfully left me with only a large scar present yet today. What if... I hadn’t tried to find a foot rest for my dangling little legs, but instead caught my foot in those bicycle spokes?
What if, some other changes, experiences, relocations, in my life hadn't occurred? For example, what if... I had grown up in my birth city? What if... my birth family had remained intact? What if... my mother had not had some of the medical problems she developed? What if... I had been able to continue my music, dancing classes, attend the private university to which I aspired? What if... I had never lived for a few years in the country with my primary companion, nature? What if... I hadn't had to give away my dog when we moved?
What if... I had been allowed to accept the offer to ride a horse in an annual special western parade in a new state to which we had just moved? What if... a generous family member hadn’t offered to loan me the money to attend college in a day when scholarships were limited, student loans unavailable? What if... I hadn't made what seemed like foolish mistakes on occasion? What if... I hadn't had those instances in speaking when I "put my foot in my mouth"? What if... I hadn’t met some of the people I’ve met, or I had met some others I didn’t meet? What if... so many more "what ifs" that I could mention.
There is one interesting observation I've made over the years whenever I’ve heard most people engage in "What if...?" speculation. Invariably, whatever the past event or previous experience about which they are speculating, their assumption is, the result would have turned out better for them, "If only ...?"
Would my life have been better “if only…”? I wonder, do others ever consider the possibility the consequences just might have been worse when they envision their “What if…” and "If only..."scenario?