17 Mar

The Roads Not Taken

What if, at each decision point in your life, some other version of yourself took the road not taken? What if there were thousands — millions – of other paths with other versions of You walking them?

How would that change how you see things?

It’s a concept I ran across a long time ago, one that’s stuck with me ever since. It’s brought me comfort around the choices I’ve made: She goes one way, I go another. She gets her adventure, I get mine… and whatever each might bring. No regrets.

I forget most of my other selves, they left my path so long ago. The more choices I make, the more they make, and the further apart we grow.

But there are some selves I watch still, from whom the parting is still fresh, whose shape is still clear. They’re the other side of choices made, choices between who I was and who I am. Between what I want and I what I need. Between what it’s worth and what it costs.

They’re selves born of realizations so sharp they leave a wound, choices so hard they leave a scar.

Sometimes I see my other self before I make the choice. I can see what the other choice would mean… what She would get. The pain or joy she’d feel. The rewards, or consequences, she’d reap.

And leaving her behind cuts deep.

Those are the choices I fear the most, but anyone would, I think:  it’s at the forks that we get lost. It’s at the forks we realize every choice has a price, that the price of where you’re going includes the cost of where you’ll never be. Or of what you’ll lose along the way.

But it’s also at the forks that we gain direction. It’s where, and how, we solidify who we are and where we’re going. It’s the choosing that opens new possibilities, just as sure as it closes others.

It’s in the choosing we find ourselves.

Image: amaterasu-omikami