TIMELINES AND PARALLEL LIFELINES
By Jill S. Behe
I was thinking about timelines, and the Star Trek version of parallel lifelines, and what if’s. My dad’s birthday is coming up, and I remember last year at this time, he hit a major milestone. All four of us kids were able to celebrate it with him.
Because of my career path, I was ‘away from home’ for more than thirty years. Served my country, got married, had three boys, got divorced. In that span of time, my family and I were getting older, too. But when I thought of them (and I did, very often)—from my barracks in Germany, the beach in Hawaii, my living room in Colorado, and my backyard in Washington—they were the same age as when I left.
Now, for almost eight years, I’ve been back in the area where I grew up (Wow! Time does fly, whether you’re having fun, or not), and yet I still have trouble grasping the fact that all my relatives are … old-er. They aged while I was gone. Fancy that. It wasn’t like their lives stopped while mine moved forward, but in my brain that’s what happened.
When we get together, and begin reminiscing—well, they do—about escapades they all shared, I’m almost jealous that they had so much fun … without me sharing it with them.
But, the other part of my brain is thinking, And where would you be, who would you be, if you’d never left? A different life most definitely, and a different outcome most assuredly, but would it have been better, or worse, than the one I’ve lived? We can’t live in an ‘I wish I could go back and do it over’ life. One, it’s impossible, but secondly, would we really and truly want to?
By staying in my hometown—never venturing past the town’s boundaries—there are so many things I would have missed. Gives me chills! I’ve had a much more adventurous life, in comparison. Went overseas, lived in five different states—all over the U.S. I wouldn’t have experienced military life, as an active duty enlistee, and a military spouse. My husband would have (probably) been someone I grew up with (or perhaps I wouldn’t have married, at all). I wouldn’t have the sons I had with their dad, that’s for sure.
Wouldn’t have my writing accomplishments, either! What a shame.
Woulda, coulda, shoulda.
Maybe not, maybe it’s best to not wonder about what could have been, because we’ve experienced things unique to the path we chose, and the direction that path took.
In one of my previous blog posts, I said: “Don’t go backwards.” That’s appropriate here, too. Okay, yes, we can go back in order to pull from our memories to enhance a story (“…and do you remember that time when Bob took the canoe out and….), but not to dwell there and wish your life was different. Our lives are what we decided it was going to be, by the decisions we made. We did that.
The past can’t be changed, no matter what James T. Kirk and the USS Enterprise say to the contrary.
But the future?
The future is just waiting for directions. Where we end up from here on out is still up to us. Good path or bad.
So go ahead, make a move. It’s really only the first step that’s risky. Then it’s only a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, and another adventure has begun.
Profitez de votre journée,