Posted 168 days ago
I personally think through what my life could have turned out to be if I had made different decisions. What if I had tried to play college soccer? Would I have gotten my degree in Linguistics and had travelled the world? Or could I have been a good soccer player and had done that anyways (highly likely that this is not true). In the grand scheme of things, these other possibilities don't really matter, because they will never come to pass, but the exercise in thinking about them is a good one. I often do so when repeating mundane tasks at work, or alone in my apartment on a weekend night - namely times when I wish things were different in my immediate surroundings and I extrapolate that to some larger, cosmic thought.
"one of the most significant facts about us may finally be that we all begin with the natural equipment to live a thousand kinds of life but end in the end having lived only one."
I think this is very true, and we all imagine the what-if's in our lives. The important thing, though, is to remember that these are only what-if's. I think that some people may fall into the wheel of despair, thinking that their lives should have turned out different if only they had done one thing or another. The fact of the matter is that it didn't and they is no use holding resentment against our own actions or anyone around us. This is especially true given our current situation at the end of 2020:
Historic events generate unlived lives. Years from now, we may wonder where we would be if the coronavirus pandemic hand't shifted us onto new courses.
Coming out of the tail-end of this crisis, I think we all to to check our emotions: we shouldn't merely wonder what we could have done if the pandemic hadn't hit, but what we can do now that it's over and we have all this pent up potential that sat alone in our homes for months on end. For this reason, I really liked Satre's quote:
A man commits himself and draws his own portrait, outside of which there is nothing. No doubt this thought may seem harsh...But on the other hand, it helps people to understand that reality alone counts, and that dreams, expectations, and hopes only serve to define a man as a broken dream, aborted hopes, and futile expectations.
I don't think there could have been a better time to publish this sort of piece, in the midst of the pandemic coming upon the holiday season. We will all wish things were different and maybe wish that we had made things different for ourselves. But the important thing is to understand that they simply are not, and we can only influence what will happen in the future based upon what we have learned from our pasts.