Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Alternate endings

One other thing that I thought about at my reunion was the way that things could have ended up so differently. Listening to people's paths through life, most of which weren't straight and direct, I thought of how even just a slightly different choice here or there would have landed them in a completely different spot. And of course, I had to think about my own choices. What if, I thought, I had gone to the African American Studies program instead? Who would I have met? What would I have done with that degree that I am not doing now? What if I had dated that guy instead of this one? What if I had gotten poetry published early? What if I'd gone into a Ph.D. program earlier? What if I'd pursued computer science? What if I'd gone to Africa? So many what if's. In looking around the bar that we all frequented back in college, which now looked much the same, except for the gray hair, I suspect that many of us were thinking about what it would be like to start over. Sure, we valued our experiences that we'd had up until this point. Sure, most everyone seemed happy with where they were. But still, to be young again, to be filled with that same enthusiasm we had then, to be able, perhaps, to make wiser choices (I'm assuming we'd get to go back with our current knowledge and wisdom). Time keeps going, and every year, there's more and more to look back on. Every year creates more and more alternate endings.