I’m looking out at this surprise Northeast Snowscape thinking melancholy thoughts about the paths we choose and the places they lead. I know everyone has moments in their lives when one choice, one decision has a profound impact on the way things eventually pan out. I’m pretty sure all of mine occurred between 16 and 23, when everything felt like a reason for angst and high drama.
I dwell on those choices – those paths taken or not taken – even the ones I’m sure I got right, and I spend an inordinate amount of time wondering, “what if?” What if I had gotten on that elevator? What if I had gone away to college in 1986. What if I had not gotten in the car and chased after the girl that pushed me to break up with the other girl? (That’s one I got right, btw. Neither of the girls in question was my lovely wife, but if it hadn’t been for the one I chased, I probably wouldn’t have been available when my future bride arrived on scene.)
The one I dwell on now is “what if I had gone to that career fare?” I’m not even sure which career fare, there were probably a dozen while I was at Rutgers. But I didn’t go to a single one of them. I was so sure of my “plan” (become a teacher, become best selling author, start hanging out with Stephen King), that I never talked to an advisor, never explored any other possibilities, and never bothered simply stepping through those doors, walking amongst those booths and asking “what can you tell me about…”
So now as I roam through a land of spreadsheets and status reports, I dream of what if. What if I had talked to a magazine or a publishing house, what if I had taken an internship digging through an unending slush pile, not making any money but making invaluable connections, what if this blog was part of my actual job and not the prolonged yammerings of my extended mid-life crisis?
The good news is every great story starts with “What if,” and I’m sure mine can as well. So what if I get my ass in gear and in front of the keyboard on a regular basis? What if I can return again and again to that door to my other world, the one where the stories (and purple emus) live? And what if I can make this dream – almost three decades old but still as bright now as it was when I was fifteen – come true?
I can’t wait to find out!