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What if?


A friend recently broke up with her boyfriend of four years, because of what if. What if, she said, it didn’t work out? What if her ex-boyfriend who was still in her life was still the one for her? What if she found out a little too late that she’d made the biggest mistake of her life?

“What if you’re making the biggest mistake of your life right now?” I asked.

She was silent for a minute and then she began talking again, volubly, about how it did not work that way at all. She had a feeling, and well, as she’d said before, what if.

I think that all too often there are too many what ifs, and there is a moment when it just needs to stop. Whenever I find myself thinking regretfully of my past, perhaps a mistake made or a relationship lost, and I think to myself, well what if, I stop myself. It is what it is. What happened, happened. What is the point of a what if? What is the point of wondering what would have happened IF ONLY your life had taken a different turn, or if you had been a different person? What if what you want is actually happening on an alternate but very parallel universe, and has nothing to do with life as YOU know it?

There is no room for regret in my life. I am too busy with today. If I have made a mistake, then it is done. If I realise now that it is a mistake, then I have learned. If I realise now that what happened was the best thing that could ever have happened to me, even if I failed to see it back then, then I have still learned.

There is no room for a what if. There is only today.

So that is what I try to tell my friend, although I am not sure she gets it. Sometimes, it does not matter which way you go. All you have to do is go.


  • stace8383 30th January 2012 at 1:22 pm

    I agree. You can look back on ANYTHING with a ‘What if?’ – the good, the bad, and what you think is the right thing right now! All you can do is continue to do what seems right in the moment, for whatever reasons you’ve got. I would assume that your friend does have more reasons that just ‘what if’ – probably she still has feelings for the ex or something!

    • Awanthi Vardaraj 30th January 2012 at 1:41 pm

      This might very well be the case, I think. I hope she realises what she wants – and that she gets it.

  • c2c8 30th January 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Nice post. I will pocket this for today and use it as a lens in my current predicament.

  • Jeanne Wickens 31st January 2012 at 6:58 am

    “What if” as it relates to past actions, as you say, is only helpful if it relates to something one has learned. “What if” as it relates to the future can be a reasonable exercise in making a decision based on those things one has learned from past “what ifs”. Today is today and what I do today becomes reality – no need to look back, unless to atone to those we have hurt unintentionally.

  • moonbeam5153 5th April 2012 at 11:36 pm

    “What if” used in decision making is one thing, but such a waste when used with past issues. It took me quite awhile to learn that, but the past cannot be changed and using “what if” is simply torture when cast on past events. Our lives are such gifts that we shouldn’t waste precious time trying to figure out “what if!”


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