November 3rd, I went with two of my oldest friends, Elizabeth and Erica, to see the Broadway Musical IF/THEN starring Idina Menzel. I absolutely loved the musical. Beginning on the day a woman (also named Elizabeth) arrives in New York to begin a new life; the story divides into two possible outcomes of one simple decision. It was hilarious, yet emotional at times, and there were numbers that had my head spinning with questions – specifically the main theme of the musical – what if?
The following morning, as Erica and Elizabeth hung curtains in Elizabeth’s new apartment, my head still was spinning with “What ifs”. I watched her putting together her new home, opening a new chapter of her story. I thought about all of the decisions the 3 of us were about to make. Each of us was facing a new cross road. Elizabeth was setting up her home in the city, entering into the world of theater. Erica finalizing visas to move to China, and I of all things, was packing up to move to a dairy farm.
My thoughts all lead back to the decision I made when I graduated from college, which lead to a year and a half of traveling, side jobs, and trying to figure out what to do next. My whole year had been shaped by the decision not to hurry to find a ‘real job’, and instead I agreed to nanny for my professor the summer after graduation.
What IF, I said no I to nannying the summer after graduation? THEN, I wouldn’t have made such a good friendship in that family, not to mention a wonderful mentor in my professor. AND I wouldn’t have been asked to accompany them to England the following summer.
What IF, I had not gone to England this summer? THEN I wouldn’t have the adventure and pushed reality (adulthood/career) further away, AND I wouldn’t have been home in fall.
What IF, I had not been home to work at The Farm this October? THEN I wouldn’t have spent the month working with my best friend Elizabeth, who wouldn’t have invited another good friend, Erica, to work with us. AND we wouldn’t have been in contact thus not going to see the musical IF/THEN together.
What IF, at The Farm, I hadn’t told Todd I was looking for something to do come November? THEN I wouldn’t be living in a tiny house and interning on a dairy farm right now.
As I reflect on the past year, there are so many things I have experienced that I wouldn’t have had time to do IF I had gone out in search of a ‘real job’ right after college. IF I had found that short cut and imaginary ladder to climb, THEN where would I be today?
Life isn’t solely about the destination after all; it’s about the journey. So what, if my road map to success is full of detours, curves, and loops? I have crossed many beautiful bridges taking back roads and footpaths.
What comes to mind when you imagine changing one of your past decisions?