Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to know how things would have turned out had I made different decisions at key moments in my life. I wish I had a What-If machine like the one on Futurama, or if I could actually visit these alternate realities like on Sliders (one of my favorite shows ever). If only there was a way to peer into the other side and see what might have been with enough time to fix how things are still. What would happen if I zigged instead of zagged. Life is made up of choices each one determines the next, just how would the dominos fall if lined up differently? These are questions I ask myself a lot these days (although I know I shouldn’t). I think about what would have happened had I stayed in New York back in 2003. Would I have made something out of myself or would I have ended up homeless and alone? Could I have made it as an artist if I would have focused? I mean the two major comic companies were right there. I once took my portfolio and stood in front of the DC (comics) offices. Paralyzed by fear I couldn’t bring myself to go through the doors. I think about what would have happened if I stayed in Atlanta in 2007. Would I have drank myself to death, contracted some permanent venereal disease? Or perhaps I would have moved up in the ranks at the club I worked at, or ended up running off with one of the bands and becoming a roadie or better yet a tour manager? Could I have found something or someone that would support me in my endeavors and dreams and build me up so that I became something more than what I am today. I think about how things would have turned out if I chose to stay in San Francisco instead of coming back here a few months ago. Would I have finally become self-sufficient, or would I have wound up one of the many faceless men on the street begging for change? Could I have found a new love, perhaps some tattooed beauty who nurtured my desire to sit around in my underwear and make up stories? Could I have found myself in my dream job, living the sweet life, if only I’d had the courage to tough it out a little while? Who knows what would have happened? I surely don’t.
I used to think I was smart, that I had (if not all) at least part of the answers. I certainly carried myself as someone who was more sure of ones actions than I actually was. I long ago tried to tell myself that I shouldn’t think about the would-have-been’s, could-have-been’s, but I can’t help but wonder if I would be better off having zigged when I chose to zag. I told myself a long time ago to never dwell on such things, that looking back in regret was a fools errand. I instead chose to lower my head and barrel on full steam with no regard to the carnage I was causing in my quest to never look back. I did more harm than good to those around me who truly cared about me. That’s why I don’t beat myself up for looking backwards so much anymore. I think you need that perspective to help inform better decisions tomorrow.