The Great What-If is something you could have been, could have done. It might have been something small, but perhaps if you’d done it the entire trajectory of your life would be different.
I think my Great What-If is music. If I’d channel all my time and effort into studying music as a teenager, I think I’d be on my way to becoming a professional musician by now. I’m not especially sad that I’m not a musician, but I do wonder sometimes…if I’d focussed on music, maybe I’d be pretty far along that path right now.
See, I’ve always been a fickle person with a thirst to learn everything. I never focus on learning one thing and learning it well. I can’t say I’m terribly talented at music, but as a kid, I believe I had the potential to make music go somewhere for me. If only I’d focussed on it. Instead, I jumped around with martial arts lessons and snowboarding lessons. I wanted to write, to learn Japanese, and do all sorts of other weird stuff I had passing interest in.
So no music for me.
Next to the Great What-Ifs are the plain What-Ifs. Things I never thought about doing but could have made a difference if I’d only done them. For example, I increasingly ask myself what would have happened if I took drama in high school as a fine arts elective, instead of visual arts and band (like I did)? Maybe I’d be a better writer, as I’ve heard acting and writing do intersect on many fronts.
Or, what if, instead of hiding in the library at recess during elementary school, I went outside and played soccer and basketball with the other kids? What if my parents put me in sports—like leagues—instead of piano lessons and art camp? Would I be less of a klutz and public humiliation of myself on the school field?
Thinking about What-Ifs makes me feel old, as if I can’t start acting classes or join an amateur soccer team tomorrow. Because I can. It’s never too late to learn something new, right?
Still, when all you read about on the news is child prodigies getting their foot in their passion industries, you start wondering if maybe you completely missed your calling and potential to train for that calling.
Miley Cyrus was Hannah Montana when she was 13 years old. Now she’s 22 or something and an international superstar. What if I found out I was good at music at age 10 and decided to commit full-time to it…and got my first big break at age 13? Would I be an international superstar right now? Am I an international superstar in a parallel universe?
Ah, the Great What-If. What’s yours?
“Appearance of sky for weather forecast, Dhaka, Bangladesh” by Mohammed Tawsif Salam – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.