Recently, without realizing it, I developed an obsession with the concept of time. Well, not so much time but the concepts of an alternative future and time travel.
This is not something I would normally write about but this is where I am.
No matter how silly it was (re: Seth Rogen’s Hulu Original Future Man), innovative and emotional (Amazon’s Undone), groundbreaking (the writers’ doomed vision for the world’s future in Westworld) or how prolific (Octavia Butler’s novel Kindred), over the past couple of weeks, I haven’t been able to tear my eyes or hands away from it.
It was happening and for some reason, I didn’t connect the dots or recognize the common thread.
Each time I read or watched, I was asking myself if I would make the same choices.
Change the past for a better future. Alter a minute detail for a shiny, new me. Attempt to take control over what’s already done.
These stories have made me examine choice in a way I haven’t in a long time, if ever.
I understand there is no sense in longing for a past that never was or clinging to a hope I will one day bend reality to my whim.
But my analytical nature examines why I made the choices I did–picked up the phone at a particular moment, took long aimless drives, booked that flight, didn’t take the leap to pursue teaching overseas when I had the chance, grew silent when I should have been shouting or simply why some people have floated in and out of my life like nameless ghosts and others seemingly tethered to me, part of my DNA.
I have found myself indulging in the fantasy: if I went through this door, maybe I would have been a dancer or an activist or a healer, adorned in vibrant headscarves and crystals or a suburban woman with a brood of children or a tightly wound, bespectacled corporate drone in a more metropolitan setting.
I will never know the truth of any of those closed doors, those unexplored lives.
Choices have been made. Deals have been struck.
And thankfully, more will come.
Everyday, I am living in the abundance of choice, the beauty of possibility. Even now, in the midst of this uncertainty.
I think that’s enough to take with me as I watch and read, in awe at the boundless imagination of others and my real life unfolds.