(Am I basing the concept to this blog post after Katy Perry's newest single? Unfortunately. However I do like the song despite my feelings about her, but that's beside the point)
A few weeks ago when listening The One That Got Away by Katy Perry a friend of mine brought up the potentially loaded question, "Aren't you ever scared about that? Letting the one get away?" (*paraphrase. In fact I don't even know if that's remotely close to what she said, but point is, the theme of the song was called into question: the whole "what if?" concept) I have no direct answer to the question; with respect to the fear of letting "the one" get away from me, I've never experienced that since I've never legitimately dated someone yet - therefore I have yet to lose someone / a potential "the one" candidate. Beyond a relationship standpoint, however, the general theme of the song can be considered (as previously mentioned) as "what would my life be like if x didn't happen?" If I were in a particularly science fiction-y kind of mood I'd probably morph this into a post about alternate timelines - and, essentially, that could be where this is headed - but naturally I've been letting the idea resonate in my mind as I sit at my laptop in the comfort of my home while a rerun of Saturday Night Live is playing on the television.
Like I said - I've never been in a position to let someone get away. But what if - what if, say, I didn't audition for the school musical in grade eleven? What if I moved to Phoenix when I was eight? What if I decided that Lady Gaga was too weird and decided to switch the radio station every time Just Dance came on? (that one is a joke) The thought of how different my life would be is intriguing - therefore, let's consider it together, shall we?
(I think I might take a chronological approach to this. I'm aiming to pick out a handful of what I consider to be the most pivotal moments in my life thus far - here's hoping they actually do hold up as significant)
When I was in grade two, my dad was offered a vice president position at his old company. The catch, though: he was to relocate to Phoenix, Arizona. So then: what if I moved to Phoenix? My life would be vastly different; in fact, I would wager that I would be nowhere near the person I am today since I consider the people I've known in my life as having been influential in how I shaped myself. Perhaps this blog would still exist if I was American (that thought makes me shudder), but I wouldn't know any of the friends I know and love now which is the most disturbing thought to me; I wouldn't have been privileged with a family close enough to see a few times a month; perhaps most importantly, I would've had to wait another two years to actually become legal to drink. The horror. In the end we didn't move because my dad was, at the time, considering another job offer (at the company he now works for now), as well as my parents deciding that it would be best for me and my sister to remain where we were accustomed to. I recall putting up a massive fight to the prospect of moving to the States, and if memory serves correctly, I tried sabotaging meetings with realtors.
What if I was more concerned with how I presented myself in elementary school? This seems extremely superficial and shallow at first value, and I know it; however - and I'm not meaning to be overdramatic or self-loathing - I wasn't exactly the most well liked person in elementary school, or even during high school. (the bigger size of my high school lessened that concern because it wasn't a forced environment with the same fifty people day in and day out) I made a lot of unnecessary "enemies" because, as I look back now, I realize I exhibited some fairly negative traits. I was so competitive for my marks that I know I came across as the teacher's pet; I was unnecessarily hateful towards some people because it's what others told me to do; I instigated things and I was honestly a bit obnoxious. This doesn't bug me that much. The past is the past, and all I care about is that I came out of those years with the best friends in the world, and I wouldn't trade it.
What if I didn't try out for Jesus Christ Superstar, my high school's musical, when I was in grade eleven? This seems a bit insignificant, too, but the school musical was probably one of the greatest times in my life. I used to be interested in acting in school plays in elementary school. By the time I got to high school, my confidence was quickly diminished - it's humbling to become one of two thousand students, so your overall presence quickly shrinks. Naturally, when auditions were announced for Jesus Christ Superstar, I wrote it off without thinking twice. I would consider myself to be a pretty good actor, but by god, I can't sing worth my life, so even if I was still interested in acting in front of people, I would've passed it off knowing that the entire musical is, well, musical numbers, and there is absolutely no dialogue. Regardless, I signed up for an audition time just to shut my friends up - my group of friends are fairly "artistic" as I know two dancers and a few are rather good singers - but it seemed that my commitment wasn't easily wiggled out of and I still had to audition. I was so uninterested that I read parts of my monologue off of cue cards and when it came to singing I sang only a single verse from a[n unidentified song from an unidentified musical], despite being asked to prepare two songs. And yet, I was cast as an evil priest - not to be egotistical, but one of the directors was my drama teacher and he liked me a lot. As I know now, iff I hadn't auditioned, my life wouldn't be the same: it was literally the time of my life. Rehearsals became an absolute joy due to meeting a whole lot of fantastic people whom I wouldn't have otherwise met. My memories of the weekend rehearsals running around the halls or complaining about [what have you] with my fellow priests are endless. I still look back at pictures from the play and rehearsals and said fond memories flood back to me, and I repeat, I wouldn't have turned out the same without the most amazing experience of my life.
When it came down to choosing my university, I was pretty much given the one and only option of science by my parents because at the time being an English major was out of the question. I therefore based my choice completely on which schools offered the best forensic science programs (a science I deemed doable, but we know how that turned out) - and, as a result, I ended up applying to UTM because of their reputable program. So then: what if I never went to UTM? I firmly say that if I was applying to schools for their English programs, UTM would never have been an option: I would've applied for the downtown campus, for one, and I would've put heavy consideration on the reputation of English programs in the province. Despite switching majors, my school still provided for me: I met some great people, and much like everything I've already talked about, I wouldn't be the same without knowing them; it's since been brought to my attention that UofT's English program is the seventh best in the world, so that turned out well, too. I enjoy my program, the classes I'm taking, the people I get to see. It's tough to think of, but (similar to everything already mentioned) if I didn't go to UTM, I wouldn't have known any different: I would've been taking equally interesting English courses elsewhere and I would've met some okay people. Needless to say I'm far from disappointed by my selection; forensic science didn't quite work out, but UTM still did.
This serves as only a selection of the most influential moments of my life: I picked the ones that stuck out to me upon first consideration and I'd say they're all vastly significant. Perhaps the most disturbing thing to consider is the concept of not knowing any better - what I mean by that is, if my life played out differently in each of these instances, I wouldn't have lived as "deprived" of the "goodness" that came out of them because I wouldn't have been alert to the goodness at all. If I moved to Phoenix, I wouldn't have grown up with the four girls I call my four extra sisters; if I didn't try out for the musical, I would've missed the opportunity to meet so many new people and create so many more memories, but I wouldn't have been attentive to the possibility of said memories; if I didn't choose UTM as my university, I'd be taking just as interesting English courses elsewhere (preferably not York) spending time with other people for whom it would be impossible to gauge as better or worse than the people I know now - it's just impossible because I haven't lived all possibilities. Honestly, though, I will never feel the need to know what things could have been: I'm entirely happy with where I am now. Here's hoping I don't launch into such deep thought every time I hear Katy Perry's song though.