We all make decisions in our lives. Attend this school, take that job, date this person not that one. And each of those choices takes us down a path that becomes our life. The path isn’t necessarily straight or linear, but it’s the path we choose.
Throughout my life I’ve known people who took different paths than I did. Paths that were their own but could’ve been mine.
Like the classmate from college who did in fact go on to graduate school in anthropology and ended up doing fieldwork in the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala. Every time I thought of that friend I thought of them as living an alternate version of my life. Change a few decisions I made and that would’ve been me.
Another one is a former co-worker who started at the same company as I did at almost the exact same time. Someone with similar skills who took a path almost parallel to mine–including our areas of expertise–up until the point I left that company and moved on. Every time I talk to that former co-worker, I think that could’ve been me.
And another co-worker who started when I did but didn’t have the mentorship I did and so didn’t get the opportunities I did. And who made choices in their personal life that I might’ve made to if things had been different. Each time we talk, I wonder if that would’ve been me with just a few slight changes.
And the person who took up skydiving like I did but found someone that shared their passion and is now traveling the world with their spouse working and skydiving in places like Dubai, New Zealand, and Sweden.
I see those lives and think that could’ve been me.
Sometimes I’m happy it isn’t. Sometimes I wish it were me. Sometimes I just wonder.
Like today. Today is a sad day.
Because one of those people died living that life that I might’ve chosen. It was a good life, but ended far too soon. And I can’t help but wonder what if…