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The Spiral of “What Ifs”

Any time we go through a significant change in our lives, I feel like it is human nature to start to wonder about the choices we made. I feel like we begin to question ourselves and begin to wonder “what if” as we look at our past decisions.

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What if I had attended this college instead of that one? What if I had taken that job in London? What if I had picked a different major? What if I had said no?
The possibilities of all the “what ifs” can easily spiral out of control…and they have. I have found my mind racing – wondering how my life would be different, wondering if I would have been happier, wondering if there would have been a way to avoid the pain, wondering who I would have been if I had chosen a different path. But then I also wonder if I would have wanted to.

It’s so easy to get lost in the “what ifs” of life. It’s so easy to blame ourselves for making one decision instead of another. But what isn’t so easy is to forgive ourselves. This is something that I find myself struggling with right now. As I look back over the past year, 9 years, 15 years, longer – I find myself questioning the decisions I had made. But, often we make the decision we feel is best at the time. I picked the college I did because it felt right to me. I picked the major I did because it sparked an interest and a love. I made so many decisions over my lifetime that caused me to reject other ones. It is now those past rejections that I find myself staring in the eye. An alternate me.

I’ve also come to realize that there were pieces of myslef that I put away on a shelf. I locked her in a closet without even realizing I was closing the door. These parts of myself I am starting to rediscover, but she comes along with facing those what ifs and the opportunities that I rejected for the life that I am now living.

One day she and I will have a conversation about the choices that I made and the fact I didn’t realize I was setting her to the side. But I think for now, I just need to spend some time reflecting without any blame. I need to take some time reflecting on the “what ifs” without the spiral. This may take some time, but I’ll let you know how it goes.


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