I am delighted for today’s post.
The lovely Kir from The Kir Corner is my guest today around the bonfire.
Kir is a lovely, kind, funny blogger who really does try to connect with her readers. I can feel it in every post. She has a way of cutting right to the heart of the matter – in a way that really makes you think. Today she is talking about the “what ifs” in life. As someone who embraces enormous life changes in a big way, this is a topic that’s near and dear to my heart – and I’m so glad that Kir chose to talk about it today.
When Gigi asked me to come and sit around the BONFIRE this summer, I might have squealed. I think I even asked her if she was sure that I hadn’t “accidentally” gotten the email. In true Gigi fashion she told me I was a goof and before she could change her mind, I picked a day to sit here in her space and talk with all of you.
I love this idea Gigi! It’s the most wonderful way to celebrate summer!
I think women, as we grow older, rely a lot on the conversations with our peers. Instead of finding the places where we are not alike, like we did when we were young, we tend to cling to every last scrap of the things that make us feel like we’re not alone in this great big world. So I come here, wedges off and toes in the sand, a light blue wrap around my shoulders and a cold drink in my hand and I look at all of you through the light of the fire in front of us and I talk…
Recently I wrote a part of my fiction story where I talked about one of my characters thinking of a woman from his past as “the greatest WHAT IF of his life”. The more I read my own words and thought where this could take my story, the more I was intrigued with the premise of the idea of why and how we react when we’re faced with the opportunity to make amends or we meet our destiny in a place we never expected.
I watch a lot of TV and read a lot of books. I know that as a society we thrive on the possibility that something is always coming; season finales, cliffhangers and the Hollywood endings make our hearts pump faster and our skin tingle. I am just as guilty as anyone of daydreaming about the things that could have been. But I do wonder, looking at all of you around this bonfire, what would you do if you could have your WHAT IF right now? If you were given the chance at your heart’s desire, would you take it?
I hope you know that I’m not talking specifically about love or the “one that got away” or the “one you wish you’d met 10 years ago”, although I’d love your thoughts on that too. No, I’m talking about that little voice inside your head that wonders what would happen if you had moved to New York City in your 20’s or had finished that book you wanted to write, taken the job, told your best friend you loved him/her, backpacked through Europe instead of working at the Dairy Queen that summer?
I am interested in knowing if those reflections keep you up at night or do they have you pushing them away when the light streams through your bedroom windows?
It’s easier to sit here in the shadows and tell you that I wish I had finished that book, that I would love to be able to use the label of “New Yorker” to describe myself and that for all the happiness and love I have that surrounds me, there will always be a question about the ones who got away. When the writing is not easy or blocked, when my sons are screaming and not listening, when I’m feeling invisible in my own life there are moments of the “What ifs?”.
In our day and age when people are so connected and tethered to one another through social media and the powerful pull of shared emotions and experiences I think it’s impossible not to give certain pause to the things that could have happened if we waited, if we were patient, if we believed in ourselves, if we tried harder. I don’t believe those fantasies hurt us, rather they heal us and make us grateful for those things we have.
The truth is that it’s the practical stuff that stops us. The families we are raising, the people we pledged love to. The 401K that we don’t want to put in jeopardy. It’s our feelings of self doubt that seep in and tell us that it’s a silly thing to want or wish for. Our book will never sell, our invention will never make it through trials or that we are not good, experienced or determined enough to see the process through, no matter how soul splitting it is. We don’t have the time or money or heart to be the person we truly want to be.
My dad used to ask me almost every day, “If everything you attempted today would be successful, what would you do today?” I used to scoff and sigh, “I wish…” I would say, knowing that it just wasn’t possible.
But…what if it was?
So now as the fire flickers and warms us from the chill of the summer night, my question to you my friends is, “What about your own “What ifs?” If your life could change in a moment with the promise of a dream fulfilled would you grab it with both hands or leave it where it greeted you? Would you let nothing stand in your way and reach for that life you’ve always envisioned or would you not rock the boat?
Don’t worry I’m still contemplating my answer too, but at least it’s the thoughts that count.
Gigi, Thank you for asking me to write for your series & for being such a gracious and wonderful hostess. It was a true honor to be able to share this tiny space of the blogosphere with you today.