Posts Tagged ‘too much thinking’

What If What If

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

This is probably the opposite of how most people feel, but the further I get from my teenage years the more I love going back to my parent’s house in the town where I went to high school. Even though I no longer run into people I know at Starbucks and I barely recognize parts of the county thanks to tons and tons of development I get more and more comfortable there. My current life as I know it fits into my teenage year memories better than I ever expected it to – like at the party on Christmas night where my mean, scary 9th grade French teacher played with my kids for an hour. If you had told 15 year old Suzanne that would happen some day she would have laughed right in your face. Or when another high school friend’s mom hugged E, greeted him by name and said it was great to see him again. I have been dragging him around to my social stuff for such a long time now that he KNOWS these people, people I sort of hoped figured I’d never see again after graduation but have somehow continued to reappear in extremely pleasant ways.

Of course, it’s also impossible to go back to the place where you went to high school without being FLOODED with memories. I think I drove E a little crazy, pointing out that one road where that one guy I knew once almost ran into a tree. But honestly, the number of memories I DIDN’T say out loud was somewhere in the thousands. It was exhausting, both mentally and emotionally, to be surrounded by so much personal history.

Swistle posted earlier this week about imagining life as a choose-your-own-adventure book, which is something I’ve been sort of obsessing about for the last week. Except instead of imagining how things would be different if I changed BIG things – like going to a different college or marrying someone else or buying a different house – I change teeny tiny things. What if I hadn’t come home late from curfew that one time and been grounded? What if I hadn’t gotten that part in the play my senior year? What if I hadn’t gone on that one date? Or that other one? What if my first car had been different? I have a habit of getting carried away with “what if” thoughts whenever something bad (BAD bad or broken dish bad, doesn’t matter) happens, especially as a result of my choices. Like, what if I hadn’t skipped that french exam to leave early the Friday before Thanksgiving break in 2000? I could have been on the road at a different time, I could have been in an accident, I could have met someone at a rest stop who changed the course of my life. I know it sounds like I’m exaggerating but if you think about how many tiny coincidences you CAN trace directly to visible things in your life (the best example of course seems to be getting pregnant – SO MANY tiny things worked together to create THAT SPECIFIC baby) it’s not too much of a stretch.

Of course, all that imagining is pointless and time consuming and although it gives me something to distract me from what I’m pretty sure is an extremely painful collapsed lung* on my right hand side, it’s also starting to prevent me from focusing on IMPORTANT and HAPPY and REAL things happening in my life. I especially need happy thoughts now, since we’re starting that dark, cold, boring part of the year where I expend all my energy practicing for the non-existent Moping Olympics. Maybe this year I won’t even enter!

*Not actually a collapsed lung.