It’s funny how this was the daily prompt today when I wrote a whole book about this very concept. Today, we are supposed to write about a “road less traveled,” which means if we could have changed one major decision in our lives, how would it have played out? In my novel, Detours, I explore just this concept, and more than once too.
What I found so fascinating about it is that most people I talk to tell me they made their major decisions in life based on what other people thought. We honestly place so much faith in what others tell us. Either that, or peer pressure is more dominant than even I thought. And I am no different, except that I’ve made my major decisions in life based solely on women I’ve been in relationships with, and not really too much on what anyone else thought.
If I could change one of those major decisions, it would probably have been moving to Tennessee, but that being said, if I hadn’t been in Tennessee, maybe I wouldn’t have met my wife, so I would throw in an exception to the rule. If I could change any of my major decisions, I wouldn’t change the positive results of those decisions. I know it’s cheating, but if I am to answer the question I have to put that in.
That being said, in my novel I don’t put in that exception. Every single major decision my main character changed, and went the other way, played out exactly as I felt it would have had my character gone down that path with no way back, as in a standard novel, and as in life. I think that’s the problem with the idea of reliving past regrets and doing them differently the second time through. It would create a paradox, changing everything about our current world, a la Back to the Future.
So, Tennessee. I wouldn’t go, and I wouldn’t look back. In fact, I would probably still be in Philadelphia right now, going to concerts, hanging out on South Street on Friday nights with Anthony and Ken, but with my exception I would still have my wife and children. We would be living in a lovely little townhouse in Upper Darby, one of the glorious Philly suburbs, and enjoying the thrill of the city of my birth together.
But in life there are no exceptions, and that’s okay. We can still visit.