I marked the first for another day.
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
But what if he’d taken the first path instead? We’ll never know.
The song Crossroads, sung by Don Mclean, has a different take on this idea.
...there's no need for turning back
`cause all roads lead to where we stand...
The song implies that it doesn’t really matter what choices we make, life ends up pretty much the same anyway. We'll never know if that’s true either and it reminds me of the storyline for Gwyneth Paltrow in the film, Sliding Doors, but of course that’s a film. This is real life.
I often think ‘what if’. What if I’d never joined Val Moore’s creative writing class at Writing School Leicester? I’d still be teaching. I was never happy as a teacher but wasn’t sure what else I wanted to do. Creative writing was the answer but what if I’d never discovered that?
Then there’s the time I posted off a manuscript called Bathtime Rap. I almost didn’t bother. I’d received a few rejections that month and in my notebook I wrote, ‘posted off picture book ms to Franklin Watts today. What a waste of time!’ But it wasn’t a waste of time because it was accepted and became my first children’s picture book. What if I’d never sent it?
There’s a fine line between ‘what if’ and ‘if only’. When I was a teenager I was seriously thinking of moving to Israel when I met the man who became my first husband. I abandoned the plans and I often think ‘what if I’d gone?’ But I’d never, ever think ‘if only’ because then I wouldn’t have my two wonderful children.
There's no harm in the occasional 'what if' thoughts and I'm sure I'm not the only person who thinks 'what if'... am I?
Rod update: Thank you so much for all your kind wishes. Rod went back into hospital last Thursday with a high temperature, shortness of breath and chest pains. He has fluid on the lungs and heart. The doctors think this is due to an infection that could have been there for the last month but wasn’t picked up when he was readmitted a few weeks ago. The positive thing is that they’re now doing a whole battery of tests to identify the type of infection and hopefully will be able to eradicate it before they discharge him once more..