I have some time on my hands tonight.
My wife and daughter are two states away at a Drum Corps tryout, my son is spending the night at a friend's house, and all my friends (all two of them) are either working in the morning or have obligations with their their family. So here I am, sitting in front of my computer (where else would I be) having just finished the second sweep of a chapter.
These "A" chapters are killing me. I keep having to add them, like "19A" because "19" is already too long. Maybe I just talk too much.
Quite the Friday night for Mr. Matthew Keith, let me tell you. Thank goodness someone left a bottle of Woodford Reserve here on New Year's Eve.
Inevitably, with no one in the house and silence my only friend (I have to have silence when I write. The only sound that I can have around me that doesn't put me in full-stop mode is classical music and I get enough of that from my son... so silence it is) my thoughts start to wander. And so does my internet browser. Click-click Facebook, Twitter, and suddenly I've wasted 30 minutes of my day on memes and videos of people getting hit in the nuts by God-knows-what.
But one video really got my attention. It was one of those, "What would happen if I had just made this one choice differently" scenarios and of course, sitting here all by lonesome, I started thinking about any number of times in my life if I'd zigged instead of zagged how things might have turned out. There must be a hundred -- no, a thousand -- of those little moments I could zero in on. And for every one of them I could dream up a thousand outcomes if I'd just done this or just done that.
Honestly, though, once I got over the daydreaming part of it I had to wonder... would any of it really have made any difference? Or would I just somehow have made the same mistakes (and had the same triumphs) at different times or in different ways? What about you? What do you think? Would you? I mean, we all have regrets sure. But for every regret, there is inevitably a positive associated with it. The "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" thing, I guess. And yes, I know, there will be some that read this and say Nope. No way. That was the worst <day, moment, week, year> of my life and NOTHING good came of it! And to that I have to say you're just not seeing the bigger picture. Call me Mr. Glass-Half-Full. Whatever. I'm still right.
It's easy to remember all the bad shit. Usually when it happens, we're pissed off or sad or scared. It makes sense that you'd remember things that produce such a visceral reaction. But if you really think about it, it's pretty awful that we focus so naturally on the negative and it's actually work to remember the good things.
If I'd have kissed <that girl> would I be married to my wife today? I think: absolutely. If I'd have moved up north instead of staying where I was, would I be living in Kentucky today? I think: you bet I would. Too much of my life has lined up. Too much just makes sense.
It's nice to think about the 'what ifs' and daydream about a different life, but (in this very bored and mildly mentally exhausted writer's opinion) it's just as important to reminisce about all the moments that got you to where you are today. If you really work at it, you'll probably realize there's been a lot more good moments than bad.