Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What-if?

Did you ever read those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books when you were younger? I had a couple of those and used to love reading them. You would get to a certain spot in the story and YOU, as the reader, could choose how the story would continue. I would always read the story to the end with one path and then go back and re-read it choosing the opposite path. No matter how many twists you chose, the story had at least two very different outcomes…which I guess was the point of the book!


In yesterday’s Monday Minute, the question was raised, “Who is your what-if person?” …to which I replied, “I could probably write a whole post on this” and then proceeded to give three of my what-if’s. Of course, my good friend Ian commented, “How's about you do a whole post about #1?” Well, nothing like a thought-provoking question…ok and a good thunderstorm…to keep you up at night.

I will say, the “what-if” road is a slippery slope to travel. Trust me…I’ve been there before. And it’s only because I feel full grounded in the “what-did” that I feel like I’m able to share my “what-if’s”. There are a few “what-if’s” that I will not explore…it would just be too painful to try to see that part of my life NOT unfolding as it did. And I’m good with that. But at the insistence encouragement of Ian, I’ll explore, for your reading pleasure, my what-if person(s)! :)

I first must give you a little background of me. As a high school student, I didn’t have one of those “these are the best days of my life” kind of high school experience. But it wasn’t horrible either. I had one small relationship as a freshman in high school…he “dated” me until another girl caught his interest and he moved on. It really wasn’t that big of a deal and we remained friends. It was hard for me to see most of the guys in my high school as “dating” material…I had known a lot of them since 3rd grade and the ones I didn’t know, didn’t seem to know me either. It was OK. I described myself once as “the girl that doesn't care if she has a guy or not, but secretly hoping that one will notice her”. But, as it were, I spent my high school days single…and not really upset about that. I was always the good girl…following rules…never testing my parents.

I think it’s important for you to know where I came from to understand where I went…

As a college freshman, I was young…immature…vulnerable. And that’s when I met my first “what-if”. His name was Travis and as I look back on the events, I see red flags everywhere. First, he was 23 to my very young 18 - he was a 5th year senior (double major). I met him at a football game where one of his friends tried to pick a fight with a guy sitting in front of us. He was rip roaring drunk…but he paid attention to me in a way no other guy before had. I dated Travis for 10 months…in all that time, he never once gave me an ounce of hope towards any kind of commitment. We’d go strong for a while…I’d get mad…we wouldn’t speak for a couple of weeks…and then the cycle would start all over again. He completely ignored my request to “stay pure” …although, I take partial blame in that in not sticking to my guns and putting myself in the position to be taken advantage of. And once the line was crossed, there was no going back. By that point, I had become a different person…not caring that I had made this major breach in the commitment to myself. And things finally came to a grinding halt the week before I was to move back for my sophomore year. I’d been begging him to meet my family…he kept putting it off. But he’d finally agreed that he would come to Boone on moving day to meet my parents. However, the week before, I could never get in touch with him. I called numerous times…left countless messages…and all for naught. He never returned one call. OK – he did…but I was two months into school and he’d finally gotten my number from a mutual friend. However, I’d moved on at that point to what-if #2. But, what-if I hadn’t? What-if I had not gotten tired of the on again/off again status of our relationship. What-if I had trailed along for a longer period of time…just waiting for him? I’m not sure…I said the other day that I most likely would’ve ended up divorced if I’d married him. I’m not sure that it would’ve ever come to that point…I’d like to think I would come to my senses before I made such a horrible decision. But what-if he’d been Dylan’s father? Now, there’s a question…one that I think I’ll just leave hanging out there. Because, I truly believe God protected me from that happening.

After the Travis fiasco, I met what-if #2…who became Dylan’s father. Well, didn’t “become”…he IS Dylan’s father. There is no “what-if I never met him” because the only way I wouldn’t have met him is if I hadn’t returned to school that year. Because, as it turned out, Andrew was my neighbor. My sophomore year, I lived in a co-ed dorm. They were suites…but the floors were co-ed. My roommates were determined to hook someone up with one of our neighbors…and I guess they felt like I needed to get away from the caustic relationship with Travis. Enter Andrew. Andrew was a 180 from Travis. He was a “good guy”. When I found out I was pregnant, things began to disintegrate. It was then that I realized I didn’t really know Andrew. I didn’t know him the way that a person carrying his child should know him. But here’s the thing, I know looking back that if he’d asked, I would’ve married him. I would’ve made it right. He didn’t want to marry just because we were having a child…which on this side of things, I’m very thankful for. And after Dylan was a little over a year old, we began dating again for the third time…and almost did get married. And so, what-if we had married? Well, this is a path that’s hard to see as well. I probably wouldn’t be living in NC. I’d probably be a school teacher. But, would I be happy? After 15 years of knowing him, I can’t imagine that I would be. He’s not the part that completes me…our personalities don’t compliment each other at all. I’m not sure if this happened because we didn’t end up together or if this is the way it would’ve really been. Again, I’m thankful that we didn’t end up together…because I truly believe he would’ve driven me nuts.

I didn’t date for a long time after Andrew…seriously, Dylan was 6 the next time I tried the dating scene. First of all, I’m just not a “dater”…and with Dylan…I didn’t want to introduce guys in to his life without feeling like the guy would stick around. But, a friend had a friend she wanted to introduce me to. He was a police officer…hence my nickname, Policeman Dan. Dan is my biggest what-if. Mostly because he wasn’t horrible…he wasn’t mean…he didn’t have commitment issues…he didn’t have depression issues…but, after a while, he just couldn’t see us moving forward. I take a lot of the responsibility for this. I mean, I know it takes two to make a relationship work…but after Travis & Andrew, I closed myself off. It was hard to open up, and still is, and be real to anyone. I think that was the biggest thing for him…I never let him see the real, raw me. And that was most likely because I was scared of the real, raw me. But what-if I had let him in? What-if I’d been open? Would we have ended up together? What would our relationship have been like? Would we have been happy? Would we have gotten married? There was a time in my life that I thought I would have. I mean, after not dating anyone for 5 years…you’d think the next guy would be IT. But, for me it wasn’t. And at the end of the day, I have to know and trust that it just wasn’t meant to be.

Do I regret any of my “what-if’s”? Not for a minute. I truly believe all things happen for a reason and that God has a greater and bigger plan for my life. For the most part, I am happy with my life. I have my days…just like the rest of us, but I feel like I’m right where I need to be.

So, there you have it. My what-if’s. It was a long journey…and I didn’t even give you all the details…just hit the high points. And if you stuck with me through this whole thing, thanks…I know it was a lot…but, Ian…you asked for it! :)

3 comments:

Cara Smith said...

Thank you for sharing that.

Life has so many what-ifs. I think the what-ifs lead us to the life we are meant to live.

Stephanie Kohn said...

In your what if story of Dan you talk about being closed off. I think you are practicing being very open with your readers here and I admire you for that. Thank you for sharing, the highschool to college experience connected very similarly with mine, had to chuckle at the "stay pure" statement. Here is a thought, "What if we had stuck to our guns and were still pure 10 years later". I wasn't successful with my 5th year senior either but life has taken be down several "broken" stories only to lead me into my husbands arms.....the what if game is only a game and God's reality is so much sweeter!

Shell said...

Your next to last paragraph- that is exactly how I feel about my what-if guys.