I was recently gifted the sci-fi thriller Dark Matter. Without giving an excessive amount of away, the book revolves around the thought of a multiverse, where every possible outcome of a decision plays out — and each decision thereafter creates another split etc etc. It’s an infinite multiverse of all possible outcomes of each decision you could ever make.
But, if you ask me, it’s a really book about regret.
It’s about wondering what could have happened in the event that you had followed the street not taken.
Where would you be in the event that you had stayed with that girl, taken that job, or moved compared to that new city? Would you be happier due to this fact?
We map out how exactly we hope our life will unfold.
First this, then that, then this, then that.
But life never unfolds just how we imagine it’ll. Life isn’t like writing a novel where you could plot out how things will end and ensure the characters work as you want. Every decision you — and the ones around — make during the day shifts the direction you will ever have.
Life is what goes on while you are busy making plans.
1 day, we wake up and discover we’re remote from the path we’d hoped to traverse. We took a different job; split up with that girl; suffered a ailment, family death, or financial disaster; moved somewhere new; went back again to school; or met somebody who inspired us to visit the world.
A million and one things can pull us off the road we envisioned.
When you look back overall you will ever have, it’s easy to understand where you deviated from the road you organized for yourself. You can view the pivotal choices and moments that changed your daily life once and for all or ill.
What could have happened if my pal Scott had never convinced me to visit Thailand all those years back?
Or easily had missed that bus in Chiang Mai where I met those backpackers who finished up inspiring my trip all over the world?
Imagine if I had never started this website?
What could have happened easily had stayed in Taiwan with my girlfriend those years back?
Humans are actually good at wondering in what may have been. We have a tendency to look at our life in retrospect and judge our past actions by where we are actually.
However when we’re inside our life, we don’t start to see the grand vision we’ve organized for ourself. We’re just looking to get during the day as best we are able to. We’re taking into consideration the tasks accessible — the meeting within an hour, the laundry that should be found later, what we’re likely to lead to dinner — not the picture as a whole.
Our brains aren’t hardwired for that sort of thinking.
For all our big discuss how humanity differs because we can take into account the future, we’re often exactly like other animals: only seeing as soon as right before us.
When I moved to Paris, I had big goals. I would meet people, attend influencer and tourism events, sightsee each day, and live that #bestlife.
Yet through long lunches and wine bottles with friends and long days writing my new book, and by catching through to sleep and hosting a whole lot of friends, I strayed definately not those original plans. Looking back, I did so little of what I originally planned to accomplish.
In a way, I failed.
And I possibly could easily look back with regret and wonder what could have happened easily had done what I decided to accomplish. What would I’ve learned about the town? Who would I’ve met?
But I think back again to Dark Matters and the question that sets the complete book in motion:
“Are you pleased with your daily life?”
It’s such a very simple but powerful question.
Beyond all of the daily complaints and frustrations and minor annoyances, how often do we really ask such a deep and fundamental question?
“Are you pleased with your daily life?”
Daily, it’s easy to reduce sight of the picture as a whole. To never start to see the forest through the trees. To look back and think about the goals we made that people never reached.
But what we do each day is a reflection of our values and our goals.
If you’ve lived your values each day, haven’t you truly reached those goals?
When you zoom out and have yourself if you’re pleased with your daily life, what do you say?
We get twenty-four hours to help make the right choice.
And if we fail, we reach awaken and try again.
I wouldn’t trade those long meals and writing sessions or those quiet nights set for anything. They helped create a feeling of balance in my own life the very first time in quite a while.
When I look back at the what-ifs and start to see the choices I made, I can’t really regret them — because they brought me to where I am today.
And, when you’re pleased with your life, how will you really regret the road that brought you there —