It’s funny how one false step can change the course of your life
A certain anniversary unique to me is approaching that always makes me wonder how things would have turned out if I had chosen differently. The phrase “today is the first day of the rest of your life” has always sounded kind of corny to me. But there is some truth to it. At the risk of sounding like a geek (or a bigger geek) there is an episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in which a demon named Whistler talks about the biggest moments in your life. You never see them coming, but they happen whether you are ready or not.
Sometimes it’s a big event or one of those instances where time seems to slow down. But most times, it’s vague every day situations that you don’t realize are upon you until it’s too late. I can trace most of what happened in my adult life to one decision I made when I was 18 years old on September 19, 1986. It seemed like nothing at the time, but everything that came after was a direct result of that day.
If I had not made the choice I did, my life would have been different. I probably would have broken up with my high school sweetheart. We wouldn’t have gotten married. I most likely wouldn’t have moved to Boston, MA. If I had not moved there, I wouldn’t have gone to Antioch New England for graduate school. A different school would have led to a different internship.
As it was, I was having a terrible time finding a placement. Antioch was located in Keene, New Hampshire and had referral resources. The problem was that most of their contacts were in and around Keene. They had a few sites in Vermont, but nothing in the Boston area. I got so desperate I started going through the phonebook calling places one by one. I got all the way to “N” when Neww Center in Newton, MA said they had an opening. I went to the interview and got the position. That placement led me down the path to working in non-profits. A different internship would have led me in another direction professionally.
Had I not married my high school sweetheart, I wouldn’t have gotten divorced from him. (well, a big DUH to that one) Instead I found myself newly divorced and alone in Boston. I decided to move near my brother, Peter, for moral support. I started accompanying him to conventions, met my second husband, had my beautiful girls, and here I am.
If I had made a different decision on September 19, 1986 my life would have taken another path. If we are the sum of our experiences then I would be a very different person. In that one vague situation, did I know I was choosing a specific path? No I didn’t. It just seemed like a good idea at the time.