PostADay Prompt November 14th – Revisionist History: Go back in time to an event you think could have played out differently for you. Let alternate history have its moment: tell us what could, would or should have happened?
This prompt seems to be intricately linked with what I wrote last week in the post Stepping Stones. I mentioned there that I don’t have many regrets, which I truly believe is because I’ve somehow managed to develop a view of the bigger picture. I have realised that even the things that go wrong contribute to where I am in life today, and I am happy with that.
But for the sake of this blog, let us see how things could have gone differently…
Let’s go back in time. Not far, just a couple of years. It’s February 2010. I’m about half way through my first year at university. It’s been difficult to settle in, but I’m managing. More or less.
In the middle of the month was S’s 21st birthday. I decided to take a few days of uni to go and visit him to celebrate it.
Around the same time my tutor at uni had sent me to see a counsellor to help me with my settling in ‘problems’. This lead to me being put on some medicine to help with anxiety. I started the course of medicine just before flying to Finland.
My time in Finland was lovely. We celebrated together and everything was going well. I wasn’t looking forward to leaving S, though I knew I’d see him again at the end of March which wasn’t so far away. Nevertheless, I was pretty nervous as we headed to the airport. My nerves increased as we discovered the plane was ridiculously delayed. Now would also be a good time to note that I’m scared of flying. S stayed with me to wait for the plane, and my nerves kept building and building.
I had a panic attack.
As a result of the panic attack, I missed the plane, and ended up staying in Finland until S was due to fly to England anyway. My couple of days off uni resulted in missing over a month. My family doctor believed that the tablets I’d been put on were a major contributor. As expected, the problems dissipated once I stopped taking them.
I can’t say for certain what the exact trigger of my panic attack was. It could have been the tablets, the plane being delayed, I don’t know. Let’s assume that whatever it was didn’t happen and that I flew back to England uneventfully to continue with my university course.
If that had happened, I would probably have muddled through my first year of university and come out the other side somewhat more settled. I would, this summer just gone, have finished my degree and graduated with the friends I made there.
I may not have moved to Finland.
Going by statistics, our relationship would have floundered as many long distance relationships do. I would not be engaged. I would not have my three lovely cats or the flat with my much-loved fiancé.
Maybe I would have met someone else. Maybe I would not. Maybe our relationship would have survived and I would have continued to eat dirt cheap food in order to be able to afford flying to Finland at every opportunity.
Right now I could be newly embarked on a career in a publishing house like I’d dreamed of, and going home to an empty flat of my own.
The problem with these kinds of “what if?” questions is that there are so many unknown variables. I can say that, had the panic attack not happened, I would have continued with university, but beyond that nothing is really certain.
Actually, even that is not certain. I recall that even over the weekend of S’s birthday, before the events of the airport, we had touched on the idea of me leaving my course and moving to Finland. Perhaps it could be argued that the panic attack was simply a catalyst.
What if? I guess we’ll never know.
Would you like to rewrite something in your past? What would you change? How do you think it would affect the life you have today?