The Right Time, the Wrong Me

Do you ever wonder if there’s another version of yourself wandering around out there somewhere? “Somewhere” can mean anywhere from the recesses of your imagination to Floyd’s Knobbs, Indiana (and yes, that place exists). 

I’ve found myself, over the past month or so, involved in an odd number of extenuating circumstances that have more or less allowed me to briefly inhabit the parallel universes of my alternate selves. Before you think I’m tripping on something, I should specify that no, I don’t actually believe I traversed the time space continuum. I just mean that I’ve found myself involved in situations that let me see what my life could have been like if, in the past, I’d made decisions X, Y and Z instead of Q, R and S. 

And it’s weird, because I’m completely happy in these so-called parallel universes. I can so clearly see into the window of how my life could have been, and I actually find myself living it, for however brief a period of time. And I wonder if maybe the reason I’m so happy in those situations is because my own present isn’t exactly what I would have chosen for myself. Or at least, I’m not quite up to par on the happiness scale. The other versions of me that could have been seem a lot rosier than the version that actually is.

The problem with this, of course, is that you can’t look to the past to figure out answers for the future. It sounds cliche, but it’s sort of the life experience equivalent of going back to someone you broke up with just because you’re afraid you won’t find anyone else. We always hope that the past holds the answers, because examining the past is so much easier than facing the future. And it’s comforting to think that maybe the answer is already there, and you just have to look for it. The alternative is facing the fact that the answer might not even exist for you. At least not yet. 

But that doesn’t stop us from looking. And maybe there is a one in a million chance that the answer really is waiting for you back down the path you’ve already traveled. Maybe you were too blind or preoccupied to see it before, and it’s just sitting patiently by the side of the road, waiting for you to figure it out and come back. More often than not, though, life doesn’t work that way. Movies? They almost always do. But life doesn’t. And if you’re not careful, you’ll end up spending your future digging around in your past, looking for an answer that you might see if you only turned to face the right direction – forward. 

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