Have you ever looked back on decisions made in your life and wondered What if I had made a the other choice? What would my life be like now?
Of course, the preponderances about how your life would have been different are all fiction, and they can be good or bad. So have some fun, wonder what if and see what you come up with. Here are a few of mine.
What if I had followed my dream of studying journalism and become a “breaking news” action reporter? I didn’t because I let my mother talk me out of it. Call is sexist, call it the era in which she was raised, or call it a mother being a mother.
But what if I had forged ahead on my dream? Would I have written great articles that resulted in a huge demand for my services? Would I have graduated from newspaper writing to televised reporting? Would I have traveled the world to exotic countries or dangerous war zones?
I will never know the answer, but sometimes the speculation leads to regret. I wish I had followed my dream. Now I write from the comfort of a motorhome while traveling throughout North America. I’m not a high-demand reporter, but I am having fun.
What if I had married my boyfriend from high school? We had been together off and on from the time I was in 7th grade until two years after I graduated high school. My parents didn’t like him. Friends assumed we would end up married. Heck, we assumed we would end up married.
Then I met the man that would become my husband. Ron and I were married 34 years when he died. If I hadn’t met Ron, would I have eventually married Brad?
Speculation is yes, but it wouldn’t have lasted. It was too volatile of a relationship. Good for a few months, then separate for a few months. He wanted commitment, but he didn’t want commitment.
Brad wasn’t ready for anything that required him to settle down and not play the field. Sixteen months after I met Ron, we married. I think on this one the What if would not have ended well. I think we are better as friends.
What if I had applied to Ford Motor Company when I had the opportunity? Ron was a Ford employee, and somewhere around 10 years into our marriage each employee was allowed to sponsor one application. He asked me if I wanted it and I turned it down.
I had always worked for small, family businesses. I was happy in that small, close-knit setting. He had complained about the red tape it always took to get anything accomplished in a big corporation.
Looking back, I may have made a huge financial mistake. What if I had applied and gotten hired? I would have worked at a higher pay scale, had my own benefits, and had my own pension upon retirement.
At the same time, maybe I didn’t make a mistake. From an emotional standpoint, I have never regretted working for small family-run businesses throughout my career. If I had taken that job, I might still be working but close to retirement.
If I had been hired into Ford I would never have had the opportunity to go to college and become a paralegal, another job I loved doing. I am now living and traveling in a motor-home full time throughout Canada and the United States. I work remotely during the hours I want.
I don’t have the benefits and financial security that job would have brought me, but I don’t think the What if would have led to as much personal happiness as I have enjoyed. That leads to my final scenario.
What if I had downsized into a Condo? After my husband passed away, I spent 2-3 years in a bit of a muddle both emotionally and financially. When I began to look at things closer I realized I was living beyond my means and needed to downsize.
While I pondered between moving to a smaller house or a condo I started separating my belongings into what I would keep and what I would put in a moving sale. Then the offer came.
Paul asked me to come on board with him and travel full-time in a motor-home. After analyzing my finances I realized it was feasible and changed my plans. I notified my boss I was leaving and started planning for the biggest downsize of my life.
Was it good decision? Yes. Travel between August 2019 and April 2020 went as planned, and we saw a lot of area. Covid-19 led us to the decision to stay put in Yuma, Arizona during the stay-home orders. We will remain here until August, when we finally hit the road again with stops planned in Port Huron, Michigan; Knoxville, Tennessee; and South Padre Island, Texas before we head back here to Yuma, Arizona for the winter.
So What if I had downsized into a condo or small house? I would still be doing cold Michigan winters and working full-time in an office. I would have spent the stay-at-home period isolated in my home by myself.
Instead I have traveled to many of the spots I may never have ventured to on my own, and there are many more to come. Some think I made a huge mistake to pack up and go before I reached retirement age. You know what I think – Better an Oops than a What if.
What are your What ifs in life? Do you regret the choices you made? Do you think your life is better because of them? Comment below on your what ifs in life.