Monday, August 8, 2011
In another lifetime, I live in an all white apartment. The carpet and the walls and the furniture are white. Everything is colorless except for the hundreds and thousands of books, arranged by the color of their spines.
I saw a picture of an apartment like this once and some part of me recognized it. I don't subscribe to M Theory or reincarnation or fate or destiny. I believe in freewill and all of the blessings and curses and consequences that go with that freedom. I think recognizing the choices we could have made confirms that belief.
I actually live a condo with hardwood floors and furniture designed to hide icky, sticky baby fingerprints. My bookcases contain more toys that books and the books I do have are stashed beyond the reach of a 15-month-old. At least until he learns to climb. I've made hundreds of little choices that have led me here - choices I never would have imagined making at 10 or 15 or even 20.
My senior year of high school, we were asked to write a paragraph about where we would be in ten years. I imagined myself single, living in a big city and working as a photographer for a magazine like Rolling Stone. I assumed my busy career would prevent me from forming meaningful relationships. I never expected to get married or have kids.
Instead, I got married at 21, found a job at a non-profit and settled into a sleepy beach community near Los Angeles. I spent several years focusing on photography, but found myself wanting to write more than shoot. This life is so much better than anything I could have planned, but I know how differently it could have turned out.
If I'd stayed home from the music festival where my husband and I met.
If I'd had a credit card in college and had racked up thousands of dollars of debt for camera equipment.
If I hadn't checked Monster looking for jobs.
If we'd never heard of Playa Vista.
If we'd decided we were too broke to start a family.
If, if, if. Choices. Freewill. Dozens of other lives I could have lived. Every now and then I catch glimpses of what might have been. And every time I'm grateful for what I have.