The Alternative Life

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

I read a post about two days ago concerning the alternative life. If we had made different choices in those crucial moments of our life, what would have become of us and what kind of better outcome can we expect? Actually I should link back to that post here, but I already forget who that post belongs to now. When I find it, I will certainly do that.

I brought this topic up when talking with my friend today. She said she is satisfied with her life and immediately changed the topic. However I just wonder that probably she is not as satisfied as she claims but she doesn’t want to imagine an alternative–it’s a futile activity if one thinks about it. What’s the point of imagining an alternative life or an alternative history? Well, some people might think that it is entertaining to imagine the alternative, but other people may think that it is stressful to think about a better alternative which is impossible to reach.

Another reason that I suspect that my friend is not as satisfied with her life as she claims is that once many years ago she told me that she realized that somebody (not her husband) really loved her long after she got married. The way she told me this made me feel that she thought herself too unobservant and too foolish not to know it. If she could have an alternative life, she would probably have chosen this person over her husband. There are a lot of old sayings or widely accepted notions that women are quicker to perceive relationship nuances, but that’s just not true. Women think differently from men, which is true. However this doesn’t mean women are more psychic about human relationship. I’ve met plenty of women who are more stubborn, introvert, unyielding and unobservant than men. Those women who are good with relationships usually put a lot of effort in those relationships–hence their perceived superiority.

Now coming back to myself. What is the alternative life for me? Actually I am not too eager to imagine an alternative for myself. I think my life is fine, not exciting, but fine. I am actually very grateful for the opportunity to work with language, to help other people, to have time to read and write. Well… my alternative life… let me try:

  • A researcher? In the immigrant community, we have many engineers and scientists (and businessmen too). There’s a very big problem with the job of being a researcher–unless one is a tenured professor, it is very easy to get laid off if one is over 40. As an Asian and as an immigrant, it is almost impossible to get a suitable job if one is in one’s 40s. No, I don’t want to be a researcher or a scientist.
  • A chef? I have thought about this option and I really like this option. However after reading Anthony Bourdain’s books, I realized that it is better not to work in a kitchen. That’s a high stress job. Also I was a waitress for two months, but I didn’t really like it.
  • A businesswoman? I think it is fine except that a business always has ups and downs. During the down time, will I be able to handle it? For example, I am doing travel related business and has a hard time when a pandemic hits. I don’t have much business to speak of, but I still have to pay rent and other costs. I’ve never been in such a situation. So I don’t know if I can take the heat? Or probably go berserk.
  • A computer professional? At one time, I actually took some computer courses and wanted to do computer related projects, but that eventually didn’t work out. I am quite mediocre and I don’t even enjoy the work.

Considering all the alternatives, I think I still like the things I am doing right now. And I only regret that I didn’t start writing earlier and didn’t discover the fun of social media earlier.

25 thoughts on “The Alternative Life

  1. Robert Frost wrote that poem, the Road Less Traveled, and I like the central message. No matter what path you choose, there will be good parts and bad parts. There will also be thoughts on what happens if you went a different way. Maybe if you were a businesswoman, for a example, would you pine over the thoughts of working your current job and having a lifestyle of writing blogs? I’d say most definitely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the repetitive and the necessary will always be there. Being a businesswoman, it is the same plus the risk and the worry. Yes, you are right. It is going to be a stressful situation, which will push me to imagine an alternative.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, straight line is for some people but a lot of people are not like that, me included. I wonder if that’s me taking a particular road or the road being fallen upon me.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. My big regret is also that I didn’t start writing earlier. Well, not counting brief attempts that easily left me discouraged. I didn’t realize it was a craft that one has to put their heart and soul into, and to have the patience and stamina to see what comes of it. And I love the self-discovery aspect of it. As some writer said about writing, There’s nothing to it, you just sit down at a typewriter and bleed. (Not of the kind of writing I do. I couldn’t be having more fun.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too. I knew the existence of such a platform but I didn’t know it is so helpful for writing–it’s almost like a diary. It is like one can get instant response from people who really read your writing and show a little bit of interest in what you do. It is an amazing feeling. That is true. One just “bleed”. What a nice word to describe the gritty process.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Have you seen the 2009 film “Mr. Nobody”? It’s about a young boy who can see the future and he considers what happens if he chooses different lives. It’s one of my favourites and I recommend it if you haven’t seen it!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s