Here’s a game to play.
Imagine if just one of the life points you’ve richoted off didn’t happen.
In the pinball machine of life we constantly make seemingly small decisions which put us on a new track. Tiny things happen which when looked back on, steer us into new avenues of life.
I have many.
Mum and Dad’s decision to emigrate probably saved their marriage our health but taking a Salvation Army role and attending congress meant a car crash happened that chnged all of our lives forever.
Going for a bike ride just before my A Levels (18) and crashing caused a painkiller stupour that ruined my grades (the forecast was great btw) which ended a Maths degree and higher career and led me into teaching for 7 years.
A random ad in a newspaper I picked up led to a job where I met Gill and here we are 20 years and four kids later.
So with just these three I’ll play “What If …?”
It was no secret to us kids that Mum and Dad were hitting a rough patch around the time of the first moon landing.
Huge arguments around money mostly. I’m not sure they would have split. Both were old world where you stuck to things. However, home life may have been miserable. As background Dad had been married previously to a Greek woman who disappeared soon after the ceremony and it took years to get the divorce. This came through at the end of ’69 and they married soon after. The opportunity to be “£10 poms” and emigrate followed in ’71. Dad took the Salvation Army role within a few months and two years later he was permanently disabled.
Staying in England was bad for our health, We kids all had chest and breathing problems. The estate we lived on was very rough and the school was poor so academically we may not have thrived. Dad always did low end jobs – milkman, factory hand etc. Our opportunities would have been limited, paling when compared to life in Oz.
Life would have been quite dismal.
My bike crash changed my grades which were forecast to be very high. I loved Maths and would have thrived at university. My career could have gone in many directions and started in a number of big university towns (I had offers from Birmingham and Durham).
A different career which could have involved research and teaching at Grad level is something that really could have happened – I minored in Maths and my personal tutor did look into a transfer to the Math Department but it wasn’t to be.
Without this degree I came back to my home town to teach in a primary (elementary) school. When I left, I drifted for a while living off my savings and doing voluntary work for a local charity.
When these dwindled I looked for part time work and while in a cafe saw an ad in a local paper for a new Lost Dog Register at a dogs home. I applied and was offered full time work and soon after started dating Gill.
Anything could have stopped me sitting in that cafe and reading that paper.
Mum and Dad’s arguments could have led them to split before they emigrated.
Rain would have stopped me cycling on the day before my exams.
What if…? Is fun to play but not to dwell on.
Life is about making decisions and not regreting them. When they’re wrong we should learn from them, true enough. Quite often though they’re actually right at the time and we have no way of knowing which one’s will ricohet us into life changing paths.
Do you play what if…?