Rewriting History … What If?

As I get older, I spend less time rewriting my personal history using the “what if” game.  Of course, I play it the most when I am bored or unhappy.  Despite that, I think I’ve identified some defensible points in my life where decisions either changed things or had the potential to change things:

  1. Attended art school after graduating from high school.
  2. Changed my major and finished college (instead of only my freshman year).
  3. Refused to forgive my ex-husband when he first sent me a “Dear Jane” letter or later when he cancelled our first wedding.
  4. Remained in Anchorage, Alaska in a place I loved doing a job I liked when my ex-husband changed his mind and re-enlisted (instead of leaving the Army).
  5. Spent more time with the horses at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.  Bought my own horse.
  6. Insisted on living in quarters rather than purchasing and then selling a house.
  7. Pursued my dream of becoming a writer.
  8. Fought to preserve my marriage even though I felt undervalued and betrayed.
  9. Made different decisions about people I dated.
  10. Died young as I expected to.

The question I rarely ask now is, “How would everyone act if I was dead?”  Since I routinely ran that scenario in bed each night from about the age of 12 until I left home, I consider it a vast improvement.  I did replace it with scenarios happening to other people that I always prefaced with, “I don’t want this to really happen, but …”  My guilty secret is I sometimes still do that …

A corollary question is:  What would you tell yourself if you could go back in time

  1. Have a few close friends, but gather acquaintances too.
  2. It’s okay not to fit in, but join in whenever you can.  Participate.
  3. Not everything is your fault.  Sometimes others are at fault and sometimes its just your share of crap from the universe.
  4. Don’t avoid confrontation when its important to you.
  5. Do whatever you want, unless there’s a really good reason not to.
  6. Pursue what you love not just what will pay well.
  7. It’s okay to make mistakes.  Fix what you can and move on.
  8. Finish what you start.  Don’t procrastinate.
  9. You can’t control anyone or anything, only how you react.
  10. Take care of your body instead of dividing yourself into “me’ and “my body.”

Of course, none of this is possible and I value the life I have (most of the time).  I am still an intellectual who has to work at listening to her intuition and emotions.  Contentment works for me, giving me peace rather than a happiness high followed by a disappointment low.  When I feel bogged down, I try to define where I am, what isn’t working and where I want to be.  Then I devise a motto to live by.

After the divorce:  I feel old and tired and I want to feel young and happy.
Currently:  I feel stuck and distracted and I want to feel focused and motivated.

Now I measure my actions, choices, activities, family, friends and co-workers against the motto.