This Life Came So Close To Never Happening

In thinking of what if, sometimes we neglect what is.

It is not uncommon to look back on the traces of life, the moments that stood out amongst the mediocrity of day to day mundanity. Try as we might, large parts of our years are non-existent in our memories, with only certain events serving as a representation for days, weeks, months and even years.

In that moment, recalling that sense of immediacy can be tricky. Our minds can play tricks with us, serving what we want instead of what we need.

Surely, though, none has gripped our thoughts as much as the thought of what if. The consideration of the alternative, at times, can drive us from the present into the realm that is the unknown paths we could have taken.

It remains an intriguing statement, a question and a sentence all rolled into one, the lack of definitive grammatical mark not diminishing its value as a catalyst for an answer. It cries for one, reaching into the void for the fulfillment of dreams.

At least, that’s what we’d like it to be. Many times, my attempts to do that were little more than expressions of the dissatisfaction of life. A road blocked encountered, and not easily manouverable, is always a spark for more of these questions.

A moment too soon, a step too early, and everything changes.

Yet the decisive what is is probably a poorer cousin of the above, one that is not at the forefront of many people’s thoughts to begin with. It is the reality one sought to escape from. Perhaps for some, a dream world that came to life, but, unsustained by the chains of practicality, it floats ever more into the distance, a little blimp on the horizon representing all that we know in a single dot.

Our life, our memories, our stories, are little more than just dots on horizons. Senses of happiness and joy, sometimes tempered, are often measured against that which did not happen.

We stand in front of mirrors, looking deep into the reflections that is us, and we question ourselves. Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? Perhaps more did I get here?

Everything is a decision, a moment that is shaped by previous choices made. Whether they're made by us or for us is probably a different story, but it does not diminish its importance. The destination is known: the finality and permanence of death. The journey? The journey...that is the key, the decisions we take.

This life, you and I, here, right now in this universe, is a life that is decided by a series of accidents and happenstances, incidents and decisions occurring and made to intertwine us ever more. We could have easily chosen to step aside, to take two step forwards or backwards, or to even stop...and never have met here. At all.

This life came so close to never happening.

For that, I am thankful.

*Title taken from 25th Hour, written by David Benioff.