An Altered Course


Note: Today’s post is courtesy of a prompt from “642 Things to Write About“. Today’s prompt is: “What could have happened to you in high school that would have altered the course of your life?”

When I was in high school we had two guidance councillors, and as graduation approached we we’re required to meet with one of them to discuss what we wanted to do with the rest of our lives. One of the councillors was pretty damn useless, but I was lucky enough to get to speak with the good one. This guy genuinely cared about each individual student’s hopes and aspirations. If you told him that you wanted to be a Hollywood actor he would gather whatever information he could locate on the best course of action to get you there. He would be sure to inform you if your aspirations were the kind that are extremely difficult to achieve, but he would never try to talk someone out of their dreams.

The day I spoke to this councillor, I had the chance to tell him about what I really, truly wanted to do: write fiction. But at the time I was scared; scared that I wasn’t clever enough, scare that I wouldn’t be successful, scared that I would become financially destitute as a result of failure. So I copped out and told him that I wanted to do something with technology, and that decision that day lead to my eventually becoming a tradesperson…quite possibly the exact opposite of creative writing.

Now, I can’t really say that it was a poor decision. After all, thanks to being a tradesperson my husband and I are in a position to be completely debt free by the time we’re in our mid 30’s. I can give my daughter everything I want to and we don’t have to worry about childcare. And my current working situation affords me large chunks of time off all at once so that we can go wherever and do whatever we wish during my days off. It is a surprisingly wonderful setup, and we have a pretty good life because of it.

But if I had made a different decision that day my life might be a lot different in many other ways. I may have taken important writing courses and gone to convetions that would helped cement my place in the writing world. I may have published much sooner, and perhaps even the traditional way. I may have an entire library of published books by now, and I might even be making some money from them. Or maybe I would have failed miserably, become destitute. Maybe I would have failed at writing fiction but found a calling in journalism or scriptwriting.

And then, I wonder, what else might have changed? If I had gone away to take part in a writing course, would I have still started dating and fallen in love with my husband? If not my life would be completely different, and I might not even be the same person at all.

In the end, the way I look at it, is that there’s no sense even thinking about it. My life may have been very different, and maybe even better, if I had made a different decision that day, but I love my life the way it turned out, and that’s all that really matters.

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