What if?

by Irwin Lengel
(Lakeland, FL)

If asked, what would you change if you could live your life again, how would you answer that question?

Think about it – it is an age-old question and one that does, in fact, come up quite a bit. The quick answer and one that would indicate that you are content as to where you are in life at that particular moment would be “nothing,” and if I had to think back to where someone in my past may have asked that question, I am sure that I would not be surprised to learn that “nothing,” was probably what I did say in the past.

But let’s think about this for a moment – isn’t it quite possible that at this particular moment in our lives, we might just say something entirely different? Something like I would take life more seriously than I have, would have gotten more of an education than I did, been more attentive and applied more of that knowledge to my past career so that I might have fared better than I did by the time I reached retirement age, married my high-school sweetheart, joined the army and all types of scenarios pop in one’s mind.

It’s funny but when we tend to write it out as I just did in the paragraph preceding this one, I tend to sound a bit foolish or even silly. But, one must keep in mind that I am now age 72 and perhaps I might truly feel that I have lived life less aware of how things might turn out once retirement age set in no matter what age that was (for me it was age 56).

In other words, if one were to truly stop and take the time to think about all the ramifications of such a question – it is highly unlikely that one could truly answer this question and expect a reasonable vision of how life would be. I say this because should a person answer – yes, I would not have married so and so. How do they know their life would have been better? Responding in such a manner would be indicative of saying that they probably would have married someone else. What if that other person was say, unable to have children! And playing the role of the devil’s advocate here, what if, one of the things you did like about your life before being asked the question was the fact that you truly enjoy the children you have now. Life may not have been so great without children in your life with this other woman. See what I mean?

At our age, instead of thinking about “what if” type questions such as the one presented at the beginning of this post, I prefer to think of inspirational quotes - quotes such as the following by Buddha: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

For it is only the present we can be sure of! Leastways for now!

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