Such a powerful phrase. It’s doubtful, questioning, and paralyzing. “What if I had …?”
What if, I didn’t go for an MRI in August of 2018? What if, I didn’t go for my mammogram this past July? What if, Jeff and I never met? I have a busy mind and often contemplate the “what ifs” in my life. To what end? I don’t know. Sometimes it’s to sort out a quandary, other times it becomes torture. It’s “what ifs” that cause me to assess what has come to pass or to question a decision.
Here is the largest “what if” in my life. When I was offered my current job at the university, I was also entertaining another one. That job was with a ski manufacturer. It aligned with the fun aspects of my life and would have been beneficial to mine and Jeff’s part-time business. However, the university job was better for our family. I chose what was better for the collective and don’t regret it. But, what if …?
If I didn’t take my current job, I wouldn’t have earned a Bachelor’s degree. I got an Associate’s right out of high school, but then I never went on to finish because I got engaged to Jeff. If we never met, I would have finished that degree. What would my life look like today? That is a giant “what if.”
After I earned my Bachelor’s, I decided to earn a Master’s degree. Because of that decision, I am now working my dream job. What if …?
Here is another brain buster (no pun intended). If I took that ski job, I know my brain surgery and hysterectomy sixteen weeks after the craniotomy would have financially ruined Jeff and me. My tumor was well established in my head, and growing, years ago when I was deciding between jobs. Fast forward six years, and I was facing two surgeries in a matter of months, and they spanned two calendar periods, so two annual deductibles would have needed to be met. I shudder when I think, “What if I didn’t have the benefits I have?” The university offers the finest benefits Jeff and I had in decades and are truly blessed, thus my surgeries didn’t have a major financial impact on our lives. What if …?
“What ifs” are crossroad, right? Standing at a crossroad, one asks “what if.” When I think about the choices I’ve made, there were hundreds of “what ifs” that quantified those decisions.
Here’s another example of “what ifs” that have haunted me. Before I landed this dream job of mine, I had four interviews in the university. After I got my Bachelor’s, I wanted to move up. I applied for three jobs in as many years and was turned down for all of them. This caused me to question remaining at the university.
Weeks before the pandemic and quarantine hit the states, I applied for a job I really wanted. Incidentally, that was the role which was the impetus for me pursuing a masters, that’s how much I wanted that role. Well, I didn’t get it. Four strikeouts; I thought there were only three in a game. To add insult to injury, I never received a courtesy call or email to inform me I wasn’t chosen. I was crestfallen. I replayed that interview over and over in my mind. “What if I said this, that, or another thing?” Weeks later, while I still trying to sort out why I didn’t get that other job, a friend told me about the role I have now. That interview was flawless and I was offered the position within a matter of days. “What ifs” be damned.
My point; looking back now, even when I thought I’d made a wrong decision, or I wasn’t chosen because I bumbled an interview, I realized those disappointments happened for a reason. I played the “what if” game with myself, but now understood why things happened. The role I was supposed to move to, i.e. my current role, was under construction. When I thought I’d chosen the wrong road, and I kept asking myself “what if,” I didn’t know my road was being paved ahead of me. The paver was far in the distance so I couldn’t see it. But, even when I thought I was on the wrong road, I stayed. I course corrected as necessary but remained because all roads in life are one way. No matter how difficult it became, there was no going back. So, after I ruminated over my decisions, I knew I needed to let go and trust. Faith. I tapped into it. Faith in myself, the Good Lord, and my decisions have allowed me to find contentment, which got me through. It kept me strong. It kept the “what ifs” from making me crazy and helped me realize why all events in my life happened. I trusted I was where I needed to be and good things came to pass. Take that, “what if.”