The Roads Taken

Life is fucking strange.

You make decisions every day that determine the direction your life will go. They could be innocent decisions like whether to have cheddar or Swiss on your sandwich. They could be momentous, like moving cross-country. Either way, every little decision, every choice, starts you on a path. It could be good, it could be bad, or it could kind of hopscotch between the two, never finding a middle ground.

On today’s episode of “AJ Has Been in Quarantine Too Damn Long,” we’ll reflect on choices and directions and how one little “yes” or “no” can build and shape an entire life.

I’ve had so many big and little decisions to make in my life, so many choices that could have gone one way or the other. I could have stayed in college the first time around (long story). I could have taken different classes in college. I could have moved to Phoenix. I could have stayed out on my own after my lease ran out with my first roommate. I could have never moved in with the guy to begin with. I could have stayed in Alabama when my family moved out west. I could have done a million things differently, but how would my life be now if I had…or hadn’t…made some of those decisions?

Yep, I’ve officially been in quarantine long enough to question almost every choice I’ve ever made in my entire life.

Do I regret any of them? Eh, some. Not the major ones, not really. But maybe a few tattoos would be different, or I’d have more of them, or I’d have kept certain piercings that I ended up taking out or gotten other ones I never had the nerve to get…little things.

One “no” cemented my decision to move away from Alabama for good. That “no” resulted in a series of “yeses” that put me on the path I am now. So strange that a little thing like yes or no can shape everything for the rest of ever. I’m glad I said that one no, though. It was worth it. I don’t think I’d have nearly as many friends. Maybe not any. Who knows?

There’s the tricksy part of this line of thinking: the What Ifs. What if I’d stayed? What if I’d taken Job X over Job Y? What if, what if, what if…?

Truth is, the What Ifs don’t mean shit. They’re in the past. Or maybe that’s the wrong way to put it. They’re in alternate presents that I can’t access, in realities that aren’t this one. Parallel universes and all that jazz. No-man’s lands.

Where am I going with all this introspection? I’m not sure. I haven’t decided yet. I could keep going down this rabbit hole and see Wonderland, or I could stay safe here at home and just dump these thoughts down the disposal and shred them before they do permanent damage. Alice sure as hell wasn’t the same after her trip, I bet. And even if I did go to Wonderland and see what the What Ifs might have had to offer, what then? There’s still nothing that can take me out of Now and put me Then. The physics for that to happen don’t exist yet. Or maybe they do, but only in theory.

Now I’m getting into a path of thought that’s above my pay grade. I’m not smart enough to figure out what it all means, or what it might have meant. All I know is, I’m here now, in the Now, and good or bad, that’s where I’m going to be until the next choice is made.