Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The bitch that is "WHAT IF?"


My life has been based heavily on a serious of choices made from a carefully created pool of options.

Right, we are all living lives based off of choices we've made that put us where we're at, but most people (people I'm now realizing who may be much smarter than I) stay away from busying themselves with endless options and choose between the things that are readily available. Oh the heartache I would have saved my Father had I done that. Wait, the heartache I would've saved myself?

I've never been intimidated by the world. I like a nice challenge. The feeling of triumph, of conquering. So, when I was 17 the thought that I'd simply apply to a school and spend the next four years of my life, in one building, working towards one goal, for an inevitable end result- wasn't even an option on my fancy, handwritten list of dreams "worthy" of crossing off.

Unlike some, I think if I'm given an opportunity I will rise above expectations. My only fear was that others free will to choose otherwise, would be the road block between me and my idea of success.

For the past four years, I have hopped from coast to coast, I've had many jobs, many apartments, many friendships that ended prematurely and I've racked up a shit ton of miles. L.A. didn't burn me enough, I'm a masochist intrigued by the idea of enduring relentless pain, conquering loneliness and turning my skin to steel so rejection wouldn't phase me. So, I fled and returned. More than once.

New York seemed like a good choice. I had started to enjoy eating much more than my L.A. days and I still had yet to overcome my anxiety over subways. Why not try that?! More than once.

Either I am quite dense or my life lessons involve ways to perfect making travel arrangements, and finding bargain apartment listings on Craigslist.

So, as I sit here catching up on Food Network shows and irritatingly romantic indie flicks (which, mind you, remind me that I'd like someone I love to just touch my face....that would feel amazing...) only weeks away from fleeing again momentarily to Europe, I'm wondering.....

....what if I would've just chosen what was there? Right in front of me? Why do I always have to run off and use my imagination, that then takes me off the map, single, technically homeless, and still.... with a long, long list of unrealized dreams.

What if I would've stayed? What if I would've just taken him when I had him? Taken him and allowed him to love me the way that I yearn from him to now. He said I didn't "have to go", is he right? Am I any better off...

What if I would've gone to Berklee, graduated and maybe started a band instead of committing only a year long program at Musicians Institute in Hollywood and then getting back to the grind, putting singing aside completely so I could barely survive on peanut butter.

What if, I would have just gone to CU, lived like most people in their early twenties, spending weekends playing volleyball with strangers on a lawn and then drinking beer with them since they're your new friends. Then, instead of throwing away thousands of hard earned money I could've started having some financial stability and gotten a nice home that's rent didn't induce massive ulcers.

Would I be happier? Would I be loved?

If I would have said "yes" to the things that were right in front of me, instead of getting carried away on ridiculous "pie in the sky" intentions, would I be on track. Would I even be me at all? Would I the better version of me that's floating around inside trying to find her way out.....

It isn't like me to open the Pandora's Box of regrets, in fact, I mostly don't believe in regrets at all. But, when I'm on Mom and Dad's couch in between homes- still trying to decide where to "nest" after the big trip, when I'm feeling a bit heartsick and then toying with the idea of making French toast at midnight and crying myself to sleep, alone....it's difficult not to question.



What is your big "WHAT IF..........?" Did you make the right decision, or do you have yet to find out??







44 comments:

Maxie said...

what if... I have so many.

what if I had stayed in college...

what if I had tried harder (with everything)

I think they'll always be unanswered.

Mandy said...

There are always what if's....

What if I had gone when I had the chance...

What if I was still with him...

A Margarita said...

What if . . . I go to B-school, law school, grad school? Is higher education something I should pursue? Or am I doing it just because it's expected?

pbandrazz said...

what if i had moved to new york after graduation?

what if i had decided to go on to get my mfa?

what if i had said i love you right then and there?

boXer girl said...

"What If" I never met Doug? He is my true mortal love - vulnerable, innocent, (plus more) all at once. I'll bite my lip and keep them both firmly shut against these dangerous words, "what if"...

well-intentioned heartbreaker said...

what if's are ruling my life right now..

what if we'd just stayed best friends?

jatlas said...

What if... I hadn't made the bad choices. I better off even with them.

Just wanted to pass on a compliment- my mom ran into you and your mom and my mom said she was just so distracted by you because you were so beautiful. :)

Hope said...

I am starting to believe that you just never know until, I guess, the end of your life.

There are many "What if's" I have questioned up to this point in my life. What I do is answer them. I say "WOW, if I had studied that much harder at university I would have gotten so much more out of it."

Then I ask myself, "Well, would that have made a difference to me now?"

And the answer is usually, "No, not really. Because if I had studied harder at university, instead of going out as much I wouldn't have the memories or the rich social experiences that I have now."

I think there is a balancing act. That if you had made the other choice, there would be something else that you would be lacking now.

nicoleantoinette said...

I am at a point in my life where I absolutely cannot let myself play this game.

Because there's no way it can end well.

I just keep telling myself that I am where I am because of the choices I've made and it's time for me to focus on the present and the future while realizing that I wouldn't be who I am without everything.

Deep breath.

bakingwithplath said...

You can't waste your thoughts on "what ifs"; that won't do you any good and it won't make a difference. You just have to keep asking yourself "what next?" and go from there. All the decisions you have made were made for a reason, even if that reason isn't crystal clear right now. I don't know you personally, but the impression I get from reading your blog is thatyou have had an amazing and exciting life so far, and you're still young. You still have time. Enjoy where you are, but never stop wanting more and never stop dreaming. And please please please don't worry yourself with what ifs.

Sandy said...

I seemed to have read this post at the perfect time, because it seems like every thought going through my head these days begins with a What If..
What if I can't afford living in Boston?
What if I stay where I'm at, and regret it continuously?
What if I would've originally gone to Colorado instead of staying in Chicago?

Julie said...

Oh man I have so many What ifs.

What if I had chosen to go somewhere else for college?

What if I had moved away to go to grad school when I knew Tim couldn't come with me?

Oye. So many more...

Jess said...

I know it sounds impossible, but I don't have any. At least not right now. I'm really happy where I am with my life, and I also think a lot of things are random, so the path of what if is infinite, and I'd rather not go down it.

Liz said...

What if? I had many what if's...but somehow they all went away...no more "what if's" I questioned where I was living, my relationships, and education. I constantly thought about "what if" I had decided differently. But at the time I dont think I knew what REALLY made me happy....and now I do.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

jatalas- AW, thank you so much :) That is so nice, tell her thank you :)

Hope- I think you are absolutely right....that's why I usually stay far, far away from them

Nicoleantoinette- I KNOWWWWWWWWWW I need to stop, sometimes we jsut have our moments, ya know?

bakingwithplath- I do believe that there is time and that everything we've done in our lives is definitely for a reason, just whenyou've been at a fork in the road so many times, you do "wonder...." but you're right I am happy with my lost, most of the time and for the most part, I think heartbreak tends to make people (me) a bit irrational and overdramatic...

Jess- that makes me happy

Surfergrrl said...

My big what if is my career. What if I would have chosen something that is more stable or I could live anywhere to do? at the time, video editing was not something you could do in your spare time or at home. But not technology is so advanced that children are editing from their mac laptops. Would i have been happier or better off if i had video editing as a hobby instead of a career? I sometimes wonder..

**Melissa** said...

OMG I'm getting addicted to your blog! You're such a good writer! I wish I could blog about more important things like you do!

Happy blogging :-)

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Melissa- Well thank you so much :)

Stephanie said...

Hmm. What if I had taken my ex boyfriend back when he wanted me to? Would he really have changed like he said he would?

I don't really think he would have. I think I'm better off where I am now.

Also, what if I had never met Joe, the best boyfriend ever. Would I be happy anyway? Would I be with someone else? Who knows? Better yet, who cares?

Jessica said...

What if I hadn't stayed in Utah for college?

What if I hadn't gotten back together with him? Would I be with someone else? Would I still be happy?

What if I wasn't getting married? What would I be consumed with instead?

What if I didn't let my fear of the unknown prevent me from traveling abroad?

Stacy said...

NO WHAT IFS!!!

put the blinders on and keep moving forward.

when you live consciously the universe will provide you with the 'right' answers... always.

great post.

Liz said...

Everybody has "what if's" but yours are unlike most I know because you ask "what if I would've done less" while others are asking "what if I would've done more"

As cliche as it sounds, you have to follow your heart. I'd rather come back and say "what if I didn't" than "what if I did"?

willtherebecake said...

Also, I hate blogger. The comment above was me.

rialeilani said...

what if...

we gave it a chance 7 years ago

i never go married

if i would have went to college in hawaii

what if we take that big chance now, is the connection we feel now real?

Katelin said...

oh man i can't even count how many 'what ifs' i have. but i try not to dwell on them because i probably wouldn't be where i am now if i had done something different.

Trixie Firecracker said...

I always think, what if I stayed with my ex? All I know is that I'd have a ring on my left ring finger and I'd feel deprived, but that's all I know. But I'm glad I got out. There have been many misadventures along the way but I've learned a lot from them.

justme said...

what if i had stayed? would i have ended up with 6 kids that i resented at that time? or would i have adapted to what was?

bodelou said...

my what if....


for three years i was in a relationship with my best friend. a serious long distance relationship. it was the kind where we seriously talked about our future together. marriage, the business we would own together, vacations to his family's hometown in greece, the way we would be old and wrinkled together. it was in all honesty the happiest three years of my life. about a month before i was to make the big move to NYC where he was living at the time, he cheated on me. he was instantly honest with, calling within minutes. it was the hardest thing of my life hearing him being in pain for how much he hurt me. he was afraid of the commitment, and was having a huge change of heart. consequently, i decided not to make the move and forgo the amazing manhattan job offer. instead i moved home to chicago with mom and dad, where i still am, waiting tables. i wonder constantly what if. like you said, i usually live a no regrets kind of life, but there are just some things that beyond that. what if i had moved back and we worked things out? he was and still is the best thing ive ever known. what if i was working at that publishing house instead of a fine dinning restaraunt, living week to week on tips. i think fate works itself out eventually, and sometime we just need to replay situations in own head to justify why it may hurt so much for the time being. its the human thing to do.

Alya said...

What if I had chosen a different college major (one that is creatively my type)?

What if I wasn't so picky when it comes to guys?

What if I chose to pursue my hobbies as careers instead of choosing the one job available in front of me?

What if I had done so and so when I had the chance.. So many..

Bayjb said...

I really try not to focus on the "what ifs" anymore because it was just depressing me and forcing me to dream rather than live in my reality and focus on that.

What ifs are the unknown and as long as I'm happy where I'm at now then I can live with the unknown.

Josephine said...

Oh hon, how crazy that you write about this because I'm currently at a point in my life where I'm standing up for myself, giving myself a chance. I transferred to another university precisely because I didn't want to have a what if, and I know it's still early, but I can confidently and honestly say that it was the best decision I ever made.

Ben said...

Ah, the ol' 'What ifs'. Never a particularly healthy road to go down. I'm sure that I have so very many, but hey I'm an awesome person (well at least I think so) and I suspect you probably think the same of yourself despite whatever situation you may be in.

Too much 'what' you are and not enough 'who' you are in the modern world I reckon. I suppose that's because who and what are very easily blurred. Am I making any sense at all?

BNY said...

FYI

http://becoming-a-new-yorker.blogspot.com/2008/08/eight-2008-nyc-blogs.html

Princess Pointful said...

My nickname as a child was What If.
My big what if lately has been what if I had left him earlier...

sid said...

Hmmm I also have these big dreams. Always thinking of moving. There are just so many possibilities. I don't want to think about what if's and maybe's. I can't think like that. This is my life and it's a good one.

**Melissa** said...

Hi!
I wanted to let you know I recommended your blog on my post of 'Blog Day' today (I know, I was supposed to post it yesterday but I lost one hour on my way back from Vegas and posted it one hour late booo)

Happy blogging!

getdone said...

my huge what if

what if i could take away some of these excess lbs and live my life

it torments me every day and i hope i have reached the point where i am ready to change it.

Jade said...

The "what if(s)" in life are truly haunting.

what if my father had stayed.

what if I had gotten pregnant as I had secretly hoped once.

what if I had not moved away after college.

They may never go away, but without them, what would I have learned?

Nic said...

Hi Chelsea- I just started reading- found you via Brandy at It's Like I'm Magic. I just wanted to say that I'm not one for regrets either, but I think even people who know exactly what they want reflecy from time to time.

As for me, I'm mostly happy with the choices I've made- minus the debt I incurred in college and the amount of my twenties I gave to one relationship that went nowhere. That said, I have to trust all leads me toward the next thing, of which I can't always foresee the outcome.

EP said...

I think we all ask the 'what ifs' every once in a while.

I sometimes wonder what if I had taken the other job I was offered. How different would it be? Would I be happier? And sometimes, I wonder what if I had just moved to the same city as my boy without a job just to be there with him.

For now, they'll remain unanswered.

Sister Libby said...

What if's blow, frankly. I think about them all the time. Right now, I am thinking "What if I hadn't moved to Sweden..."

Chelsea Talks Smack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Nic- Hi! Glad to have a new reader ;)

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Nic- Hi! Glad to have a new reader ;)

 
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