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.