Wednesday, July 20, 2011

If I Had To Do It All Over Again

As I was lying in bed this morning trying to gather enough energy to make it to the coffee pot that sits a mere 20 steps away, I somehow got to thinking about all of the life decisions-some big, some small-we make on a daily basis that ultimately play a part in moving our lives forward and getting us to where we 'end up', so to speak. There are times, just out of curiosity, that I'd love to be able to take a glimpse into an alternate universe and see how things might have been.

When I was a young girl, about 14, I had the biggest crush on a friend's older brother. At that time I was very close to the whole family. I spent a lot of time at their house hanging out with my friend and not so secretly fantasizing about the future that her brother and I would, OF COURSE, eventually share. A few years later he found out I liked him, I don't really remember how it came out, but I do remember the heartache that followed. Not only did he not like me in that way, but he barely knew I existed. I was devastated. I think I stayed in my room for a full 24 hours, with the curtains closed, getting out of bed only to flip over my Pearl Jam tape.

Time passed. I got over the heartache. My friend and I grew apart. Life went on. For the most part, I've lost touch with all of the people from my former life. But I hear things through the grapevine. The last I heard about my first real crush, was that at almost 40, he was still single and still living at home with his mom. (Let me make this clear. He didn't move out and then move back in because of some financial or other type of hardship. He NEVER left home.) Obviously, he is no one I'd look at twice today, but I still can't help thinking about how my life may have been had he liked me in the way that I liked him. His family is very conservative and they place a lot of importance on traditional male/female roles. Dad worked, mom cooked and cleaned. Had we ended up together I don't think either one of us would have been very happy.

I think what originally got me to thinking about all of this was my son's 13th birthday. By most standards, I was young when I had him, only 21. There are times, when I'm feeling sorry for myself, that I regret starting a family so young. I didn't go to college, I haven't yet seen New York City. Jay and I didn't do a lot of living on our own before we had to start living with baby. How would my life be different if I had waited, two, five, ten years to have a child?

But then I look around. I take a close look at people. The world is filled with folks who seem to have done things the 'ideal' way, and they don't appear to be any happier than I am. Things aren't perfect in my life (and I doubt they ever will be), but I have a husband who wants nothing more than to see me happy and I have two kids who I love more and more with each passing day. It's such a cliche', but life is truly what you make of it.

So, if I did hold the key to an alternate universe and I was able to see all of the what if's and could have been's, would I do it? Probably not. Through Facebook, I've caught up with enough people from my past to be able to say that nothing, not even happiness, is ever a guarantee. And the grass on the other side? Yeah, it's never as green as we think it's going to be.

What about you? What what if's do you think about?

13 comments:

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

EXCELLENT POST!

I once had someone ask me if I regretted marrying my first husband. When I said absolutely not she didn't get it. Everything has lead me to be where I am supposed to be. I learned a lot from that relationship and picked wisely the 2nd time. I strongly believe that one must live with no regrets. I never regret anything that I have done....only 1 thing that I didn't do. So that lesson alone was worth learning. Know what I mean?

Tammie said...

peggy: yes! you and i are in complete agreement. i really have no regrets either because all of my mistakes have better prepared me for lifes next challenge.

Daphne said...

I do regret going to the "safe" college and not the other one I was accepted to -- I always wondered what that would have been like. Probably a lot more fun. College was not all that great for me. But everything else... although certainly things have turned out differently (and harder, sometimes) than I'd thought, I wouldn't change anything. I wouldn't have made any other decisions. But it was a hard road to get here.

Aleta said...

I like to think of my past as closed chapters of life. It's a rare thing for me to look back on it, but most likely that's because I'm pretty happy where I'm at. Life isn't perfect and that's a lie if anyone says it is :) I'd love to have children, but that won't be the case for me, it's the only "what if" I can think of. Or... "what if" I had met Greg before the other two ex's. Then again, I was a different person in those past chapters, less secure in life, not as much to offer, not knowing what I wanted in life. It's all good timing, we just don't realize it until we glance backwards :)

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I used to think a lot about how my life would be different if I hadn't married my ex. But I did and what is done is done, I don't think about it much any more. Life is good now & that's what matters. I never really regret having kids so young; I like being a young mother. I see some of my kids' friends' parents and they look, and act, almost like their grandparents. I like that my kids and I are close and have fun together. I figure when they're all grown, I'll still be young enough to travel and do those fun things.

hester said...

Mmmmm...quite a deep post today! I sometimes wish I hadn't waited five years to be REALLY SURE before I married Scott at 37. Would motherhood have been a bit easier if I had small children in my thirties instead of my forties? I agree with you...life is unfolding as it should (apologies to the Desiderata).

lieslmade said...

I like this post.
Sometimes I worry I'm not where I'm supposed to be. But then I realize, just who dictates where I should be?
High school was rough for me and I ended up doing home study and I often wonder how different my life would be if I had stuck it out in public school. In a lot of ways, it's been (I guess one would say) bad for me but in many other ways, it's turned me into who I am today. And I wouldn't change that.

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

Well, I know if I was married to my first love it would be a happily-ever-after scenario. I just know it! I haven't seen or heard from him in about 30 years and I really don't want to. I just want to delude myself. I suppose things happen for a reason....

Tammie said...

jodi: sometime i think its totally healthy to hold onto those delusions. i won't stop you. ;)

liesle: i completely get where you're coming from. for a long time i felt i wasnt where i should be either, like i hadnt lived enough as my peers had or something to that effect. but yeah, who really is to judge? and the bottom line is that the choices we've made have gotten us here, where we are happy. no one can argue with that.

heather; if you want my opinion i think being a mother is hard no matter what age you choose to do it. when youre young you have more energy but less experience and skills. and when youre older you have the knowledge but no energy. you really cant win for losing. and thank you so much for mentioning that lovely poem. its so appropriate here.
(for those interested, Desiderata can be read in its entirety by going here:
http://www.fleurdelis.com/desiderata.htm

cyndy: i try to think about that to, the fact that when my kids are older, i'll still be young enough to enjoy life. and i'll get to do the living i didnt do in my twenties.

aleta: your last sentence is brilliant!

daphne: isnt it funny how most of the regrets we all have center around things we didnt do instead of the things we did do? very telling. and i agree with you, as hard as some aspects of my life have been, they've all contributed to get me here, which i wouldnt change for anything.

Jaime said...

This post along with everyone's comments make me feel so normal. Too often than I like, I question my life and wonder if I should be doing more socially acceptable things. It is really nice to know that other women ponder the same things. For me, I wonder if maybe I'm out of the ordinary because I haven't had a child yet. I just turned 34 and I get asked all the time when my husband & I are going to have a baby. I just don't know. I've learned that we need to live our lives however they feel right to us. All that matters is that we are happy and healthy. In the end, regret and worry won't get us anywhere. I applaud your reflections and agree with you - I don't regret anything. Everything I've experienced has led me here - my life right now.

Run Lori Run said...

I agree with Margaret's comment- every experience, mistake, road chosen (right or wrong) leads us to where we are supposed to be. We are in control of how we make our life and what we turn it in to.

Gratitude is the key. Be grateful for what you DO have and your perspective changes.

Dani said...

I have some what-if's...but that's where they stop. I know I am where I'm supposed to be and with who I'm supposed to be with.

Like you, I've seen my past "great loves" on Facebook, and let's just say time hasn't been kind to most of them. And the ones that kept their looks are still in high school maturity wise.

I lucked out. And I have no need to question that fact.

kraftykash said...

FYI Pearl Jam rocks! Life is too short to worry about the what ifs. I have been learning not to care about what others think. I have heard myself say in the last month "No we didn't buy a house, Its not our American dream."
You are awesome to me and you always will be. :)