Now that I am firmly in my thirties (by about 200 days) I often find myself thinking about the road not taken. Whether it was my career choice, the choice to leave my career, someone I dated, and or moving away from the town I called home, I find myself wondering if I made the right choices in my life. Don't get me wrong I love how things turned out and where I am at right now, but I must admit that I sometimes find myself sometimes romanticising my "former" life. You know the one, the pre-kids, or pre-husband life. The one where the whole world was wide open and although it was scary there was something exhilarating about the unknown and knowing that you had your whole life in front of you.
I remember countless nights sitting with friends talking about who we would marry (was it the guy I was at the time obsessed with, or some unknown stranger,) wondering what my kids would look like (I wanted a blue eyed blond hair girl,) and how my career would turn out (I was pretty positive that I would be the Angie Harmon character from Law and Order.) All of these things were just dreams 10 years ago and now when I wake up I realize that my life is pretty much decided. I got the husband part right (who fell into the "unknown" category) the baby (except for the girl part,) and while I definitely wasn't Angie Harmon I still have very fond memories of my time at the DA's office. I got almost everything I wished for yet I can't help thinking about the what ifs.
What if I had married someone else, what if I had chosen another career that was more family friendly, i.e. one that I could do part time, what if we moved back to California when we had the chance, what if I hadn't decided to stay home would I still love my job as much as I remember loving it? What if, what if, what if. I guess my question is how much "whatifing" is good, and how much of it just keeps you living in the past? I know I'm not the only one out there who has these thoughts and lately I have had many of those "grass is always greener" talks. Part of me thinks that it is healthy to have these thoughts and to evaluate your life and how you go there. Otherwise how are you going to know where you are going?
The problem, I now realize, is that after a few years the reality of a situation becomes muddy and I truly believe that we often insert positive memories into places where we have forgotten the actual details. A person, place, or thing can take on more meaning that they ever actually had, and we forget why we made the choice we did in the first place. I am the first to admit I have a very creative imagination and I absolutely color things with a more positive spin than they may be owed.
Recently having gone back home, seeing people from my past, and also spending some time with people from my work life I am staring to realize that the life "in my head" is very different that the "real life" that I would be living had I gone a different route. While I may have these romantic notions about how my life would have been, I can say with 100 percent certainty that I am better off having made the choices that I made. Were they the right choices? I guess I will never know, but in the end they are my choices and I realize that I am lucky to have such an amazing husband and son, and a life that allows me to spend all of my time with the both of them. I also have an awesome healthy family, and some pretty kick ass girlfriends. What more could one person ask for? The road not taken may have turned out better, but the more likely possibility is that it would have turned out much, much worse.
The bottom line is that I'm done living in the past, and unlike when I was in my 20's I don't want to live in the future. I think for the first time I am going to see what it is live more in the now and know that the choices I made were made for a reason, even if I can't remember what that reason was. For me I think it's important to take off the rose colored glasses and to try to remember people and places for what they were (and are) and everyday be more confident in the decisions that I made. This quote says it all.
You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present. ~Jan Glidewell
Amen to that.
How do all of you deal with "road not taken?"
(Photo Credit: From Here)