Isn't it weird to think about all the other "lives" you could have led? I thought about this a little on the way home from Lake Powell today (vacation blog/photos later) and I got to thinking about all of the little points in my life where something changed, I made a big decision, or picked a fork in the road and left behind another.
Passing through Flagstaff today on our way home from the lake, I was reminded of so many memories that took place during my college years there. I went straight up to NAU in 2000, just a couple of months after graduating high school. I roomed with one of my close friends at the time and ended up being in the same dorm as some of my other good friends. I had gone to junior high and high school with one of the girls, and played club soccer with the other two for the same amount of time. When we began college we were all inseparable, and when I joined a sorority that first semester I widened my social circle and met my soon-to-be best friends, Autumn and Shirley. Sometimes I think about what a change Pi Phi made in my life. I often wonder if one of my girlfriends had rushed Pi Phi rather than Chi O as she did, if we would have remained close, and if I wouldn't have rushed at all, if I would have stayed close with that group of friends. But sure enough, I drifted apart from them as the next two years went by, and when sophomore year rolled around I had moved into my sorority's wing at Mountain View. There were many other things that went on that caused the degradation of my friendship with those three girls, but I do feel that making the choice to join a sorority (something they were not into), started the wheels in motion for the eventual disintegration of those friendships. So on our drive I thought about those old friends, I thought about meeting the two girls who became my sisters and closest friends, and still are. I thought about all the things I have gone through with Autumn and Shirley, all the things I may have never experienced had I not rushed Pi Phi. I thought about old boyfriends, and choices made in relation to them. In about 2003 I thought I was in "love" with a particular boyfriend of mine, and we ended up spending a tumultuous spring, summer and fall together, in the way that only two people can who are young with not a care in the world can, loving and fighting and fighting and loving. We were very different, and at the time I did feel I was in love, in retrospect absolutely not, but back then, it was a special time for me. Before we had met, he had already made the decision to move across the country to pursue an opportunity and I had known this going in. In the back of my mind I had thought I could somehow make him "want" to stay, but when he ended up actually leaving, I felt my heart was broken and could never be whole again. In my silly, naive mind, I thought he must be the one for me. So we tried to make it work, and it definitely did not work, whatsoever. I think back to that time, thinking how ridiculously I wanted to make something out of nothing, thinking about how I could have made a stupid move across the country for an idea that did not add up in real life, thinking about how different my life may have been. On my drive I thought about being at my friend's house, and this friend inviting me outside to meet his friend Hank, and me declining, sitting inside the cool air conditioning rather than going outside to meet this friend of his. I thought about the feeling I got that I needed to go outside, and deciding to go out and introduce myself for the first time, to this guy named Hank. I thought about wanting to teach in Japan, about how I was all set to go, and then I met this guy named Hank, and two days after meeting him and talking to him for both days nonstop, I had a feeling I just shouldn't go, and canceled my interview at the Japanese embassy in Los Angeles. I thought about how I was hired to work at a large financial firm, doing web editing, but found out I was accepted into grad school the day before my first day of work, and never showed up, electing to instead get my teaching degree. I thought about my crazy decision to move to Prescott after just dating Hank for 11 months, thought about choosing to go to Moorea instead of Greece for our honeymoon, and learning of the bombing at the Greek airport the day we should have arrived.
In life we have hundreds of choice that lead up to where we are. Hank and I often discuss if we would have met if circumstances hadn't led us to each other. I wonder if I would have met my two best friends, had I not made one important decision. All of the other lives I could have led: unhappy in Florida, a non-sorority girl at NAU, cold in the AC at my friends house and never having met Hank, teaching English to Japanese children, working at a financial firm, never moving to Prescott and living in Scottsdale with the girls, never becoming a teacher. Where would my life be, who would I have met? It's such an insane concept and quite interesting to ponder as you look back on defining moments in your life. I am definitely happy with every single choice I have made, and it is definitely reassuring that even those decisions I felt were horribly bad or heart breaking at the time, led me to where I am now; happy and right where I should be.