I recently read The Midnight Library by Matt Haig and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a work of fiction with the basic premise of looking how life would be changed if different choices had been made throughout the years. I started thinking about this in relation to my own life and thought I would write out some alternatives that may have happened had I made one or more different choices in my life or had my path shifted.
Here is a brief history of who I actually am. I grew up in a small town with my parents and sister. After graduating from high school, I went to the local community college for two years before going to Virginia Tech to finish my college education with a degree in family and child development. A week later I married my high school sweetheart. We have moved three times and now have a son and a daughter who are teens while I continue to work part-time with the aged and disabled. I recently began writing more seriously and am writing my first book.
Now to take a look at my midnight library and the tales that could have possibly unfolded had I navigated a different path:
I could have been studying sea turtles in a coastal city if I had majored in marine biology and not feared where I was to live or what jobs would be available and how this would impact my spouse. My career path would be completely different.
I could have been a redneck who never experienced the world and got stuck not understanding others. I could have been racist and uncompassionate toward people unlike me.
Had I not grown up in church, I could have ended up going down a dark path, always searching for answers.
I could have leaned into my faith even more and become a missionary in a far-off land.
If my husband and I had broken up along the way I may still be a single woman wishing she would have found her Prince Charming and wondering if my high school sweetheart should have been the man I married.
Or I would have found love in another.
I could have started writing seriously much earlier and taken classes and become a much better writer by now.
I could have decided to be a stay-at-home mom instead of working part-time after my children were born. My life, my kids’ lives, my mental health, and our finances would all be different.
I could go on and on with the possible twists and turns my life could have taken, but you get the drift.
There is no rewind button in life and I don’t like to play the “What if” game, but I think it is important to look at how decisions, big and small, can impact my life and know that I don’t want to live with regret, which is really the heart of the book. It is good for me to see how I got to where I am and find gratitude for the good in my life while at the same time considering things I want to do with the time I have left. What is most important? What haven’t I done that I would like to do? What should I change? What should I keep the same? These are all important questions that The Midnight Library made me consider since I read it. I will not focus on the “what ifs” which are a moot point, but rather focus on the “what can be” which is only limited by my dreams and, most importantly, the pursuit of those dreams.