What If…

Back in January I wrote about the two most used words in the English language.  I still believe ‘Thank You’ reigns supreme as part of our everyday lingo. (If it doesn’t, it should!). However, lately I have been uttering two different words with a bit more frequency.

What if….?

We ask ourselves that everyday, don’t we?  And the irony is that I harped about how we need to be decisive and make decisions, not sit and be paralyzed by choice.  But how often after making a choice do we look back and wonder if it was indeed the right one.  We come to forks in the road everyday.  Soup or salad?  Ranch or Italian?  Pepper or no pepper?  One decision begets another which begets another.  And that’s just lunch!

I look back at the past seven months and see nothing but a sea of What If’s.  What if that call never came in August?  What if that call never came in November?  What if I had been more patient and understanding?  What if I had held on a little tighter?  What if I didn’t have to walk by the merchandise table that night?  What if we met under different circumstances?  What if it were less than 45 minutes away?  What if I have just one more pop-tart? Actually, I know the answer to that one and it’s Alka Seltzer!

How different would our lives be if there was one less domino in the chain?  If we made a left at Albuquerque instead of a right?  The second guessing becomes second nature.  It burns inside of us.  It eats away at our subconscious, and if we let it, the lining of our stomach, too.  Too much what if’ing leads to a gun-shy attitude that can many times lead to a “What the F” attitude, and that is usually more bad than good.

We will never know because it is not the path we chose.  To dwell and think too much about a What If is useless and futile.  It does not solve any problems.  Quite the contrary, it usually creates more problems born from resentment, sadness and frustration.   We must play the hand we’re dealt because in life you can’t just get up and walk away from the table (although there are some situations where all you need to do if get up and leave.  All it takes is a concious decision).

There is not clear cut, right answer, and making the decision is the real triumph.  We will always look back at past decisions, some that have been good and others that were tragically bad.  The trick is not to obsess on these decisions (or indecisions) but rather to learn from them.  And it is in looking back that we are able to look forward.

May all your decisions leave you free of “What If’s”!


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