Stephen King wrote a book – 11/22/63 – about a man who went back in time to stop Lee Harvey Oswald from killing President Kennedy. Now, I’ve never read a Stephen King book, I’m not much into the whole The Shining/Salem Lots thing. Horror books, horror stories are just not my thing. I’m more a John Grisham, Janet Evanovich, Michael Connelly kind of gal.
However, I am a Kennedy assassination kind of gal who grew up in the 1950s and 60s. The reviews were glowing, and pretty much demanded that anyone who grew up in that era must read the book, so… I purchased the book on my Nook Color and started to read. I thought it would take me a long time as the book is close to 1,000 pages. I read the book in about 3 days. My poor Nook took quite a beating!
I loved the book, it was sort of Marty McFly meets Lee Harvy Oswald. What I love more is where the book has taken me. It’s prompted me to take this unexpected personal journey through what is my life.
Like millions of other people, I occasionally wonder what life would have been like had I taken another road or made a different choice somewhere along the way. When I was 4 and my neighbor threw the old paint can at me, if had hadn’t turn my head just ever so slightly, I would have lost my eye. The scar above my eye which I see every day reminds me of this. We’re talking less than an inch from losing my eye.
If I would have changed one word in a note I had written in High School, my life would be different right now. I don’t know how, I just know it would be different. And it’s not just my life that would be different – the life of the recipient of the note and all of the lives attached to that note would be different.
I often wonder how different things would be if I had found the courage to somehow come-out when I was in my teens and knew full well I was gay. I think sometimes that I could have saved myself and a number of other people a whole lot of hurt and anger – then again, there is no way for me to know this.
I should not have married my ex-husband – but had I not married him, he would have never joined the Navy and had the career he did. I know now that he joined the Navy to run away from our marriage which was really not a marriage at all. There was a part of me that felt guilty about that until I realized that he could have left the marriage any time he wanted and yet – he stayed. Had he made the decision to leave, I don’t know what my life would be right now. It would most surely be different.
There was that moment when my now partner Susan told me she could no longer take my indecision about what exactly I wanted to do with my life. After 20 something years of me running from any sort of decision, she was done with my indecision; and done with me. I was either going to move to California and have a life with her, or she was done. I think this is what’s known as a watershed moment. Had I waited one more day, one more hour, and one more moment to make the decision to move – I would have lost her and this life we now share. I don’t know where I would be however I’m guessing it wouldn’t be sitting in my wonderful home listening to her sleep in her recliner while I write.
Sure there are things I wish I had never said and people I wish I had never hurt, but for whatever reason I was supposed to have been an asshole at that moment in time. Perhaps it was a lesson that needed to be learned, and had I not done those things or said those things lives would be different right now. How different? It’s unknowable.
What I’ve come to understand the most is how connected we all are to one another. How the decisions we make in our lives affect the lives of the people around us, and the lives of people we are yet to meet, and people we may never meet.
You don’t have to go back in time to make changes. If there is someone you want to apologize to for words spoken in anger – do it now. Just know that the outcome may not be what you’re wishing for. People move on, life moves on. Your words were spoken for a reason and the consequences of your words have long since happened. Your life was changed as was the life of the person you hurt. Apologizing won’t change that and it may be that it’s best to let life be what it is… then again… one never knows…