Have you ever wondered, what if-
What if I’d chosen my other interest for a career choice, could I have made a go of it?
What if I’d went back to a challenging situation,
instead of giving up?
What if I’d tried just one idea from a book,
that profoundly touched me ?
It is so frustrating that there seems time for only one choice with so many life changing choices. There are times we wish life did indeed have a re-do button.
Yet, there are many more choices that are simple choices, choices that will revisit us, and offer that chance to redo or undo one choice that will make future life so different.
Which is why the 1993 movie Groundhog Day is compelling. For those who have yet to see it, the same boring day repeats for Phil, a cynical weather reporter. Repeats and repeats and repeats for years, without him aging. What has us initially laughing is the same alarm clock song that rouses him from sleep as he realizes he is in the exact same day, repeating for years.
But, despair enters his heart and ours as we feel his frustration with reliving this repeating day, day after day, year after year. He wakes the same day, in the same bed, in the same room, without any escape.
But, don’t most of us do that? We get up at the same time, talk with or ignore people in the same way, every day, every day, every day.
What is really so different in our lives than Phil’s?
Phil soon realizes that he begins each same ‘next’ day retaining his previous day’s knowledge and learning. Yet, no one else knows anything different about him, except but what they learn during that single day. We laugh and groan as he uses his daily gained knowledge for cynical self- advantage. It is poignant that as he utilizes that gained knowledge for only his self purposes, life ultimately becomes pointless. In following his What Ifs, Phil gains far more than the knowledge of where they would have led him. He gains insight into how each life choice embedded within him and determined each of his future life choices. Whatever he could have had or however he could have behaved differently became a lost potential What If.
Life becomes meaningful, even though Phil continues to live the same day over and over again, when he realizes he is not bound by those previous choices any long. He can re-choose every day what character qualities he wants to embrace, thereby changing each future What If scenario choices.
Could I have become a doctor?
Could I have taught that child?
Could I have learned music ?
Who of us would want to literally live over and over the same day a thousand times to attempt to get it right. Yet, even as we go through each and every day often repeating the same thought patterns, the same ideas, the same perspective of others, are we getting it right?
When we see life through Phil’s unending same day, it becomes glaringly apparent that we too could gain insight into self by choosing an personal non-typical response to a What If.
We could re-do and undo where our previous life choices have turned our life.
What if I helped tutor a learning challenged child ?
What if I helped drive a cancer racked patient?
What if I helped carry a car injured pet?
Changing ourselves from within will be reflected in every one of our future What Ifs.
None of us is totally bond by previous life choices.