Recently, I was fortunate enough to return to my college alma mater in the company of several of my former classmates. One of those classmates is now my boyfriend. It was the first time that he had returned to campus in nearly 30 years, and he marveled at everything that had changed, along with everything that remained virtually untouched by time. It was surreal to revisit the place where we met, and this sparked conversations of shared memories.
My boyfriend recounted how he had planned to ask me out on a date, but he was so nervous that he couldn’t get the words out when the time came. We were friends at that time, and I never suspected that he liked me as anything more than that. He walked away, taking his secret with him, and I walked away completely clueless about what had just not happened.
Since reconnecting, at times, we have engaged in the game of what if. What if he had asked me out? What if we had dated? What if we had reconnected sooner? What if . . .? On this particular trip down memory lane, there was a discussion of what we perceived to be missed opportunities. Then, our wise friend, Jackie, weighed in on the situation and, unknowingly, provided the inspiration for this blog.
As we talked and drove around campus, she simply said, Life has a way of self-correcting. As soon as she said it, I immediately smiled to myself and felt the regret tinged memories lose their sting. I continued to ponder her words, and the more that I thought about them, the more that they resonated with me and reassured me.
In the game of what if, I always come back to the belief that I would not change anything in the past, even the excruciatingly painful events and difficult periods, because changing one thing means changing everything. If I eliminated those hard times, I would also lose some of the better times. Her straight forward statement reminded me that there are not necessarily lost opportunities or mistakes to regret, but rather, new opportunities to pursue and lessons to be learned.
Too often, I have engaged in a futile exercise of trying to predict or force an outcome, only to be saddled with anxiety and depression. I finally have come to the realization that if I just get out of my own way and let go of my sometimes unrealistic expectations and self-imposed time limits that everything works out in the end. It may not happen how or when I think that it should, but eventually, it happens. Sometimes, things end up far better than I ever could have imagined, and I end up right where I was meant to be. Life indeed has a way of self-correcting, and life is truly good.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story