My own self reflections tend to get quite philosophical. Many times in this blog I have written about pathways- the path that brought me to where I am now, the path that I am traveling now and the path that will be traveling in the future. For months I have been asking myself: "If I hadn't done (insert event), where would I be now?" How would changing a single event from my past effect what/who/where I am now? Every decision, every event from my past has brought me to this point, shaped who I am and determines what I will become.
The best example of this introspection is this - during my first year as an undergraduate I was with the individual that would become my (first) wife, but we were separated by 220 miles of I-35. During that particular year, I was considerably unhappy (for a number of reasons - including anything from the transition to being away from home/on my own, starting school/university life, and the relationship itself was not entirely, what I would necessarily call "good" for reasons other than distance), and nearly reached the conclusion to end things with her. Eventually, I second-guessed the concept and continued on the path I was traveling. Six months later, we were engaged and two years after that we were married and I considered myself to be "happy". With the events that unfolded over the last year, I had regretted that particular decision.
A few months ago, after some consideration, I concluded that if I were to be able to go back and change a single event from my past - the decision to stay with her would have been the the most tempting. It would erase all the pain and stress of the entire fiasco that the marriage would become. But what else would it have altered? Would I have gone to graduate school and finished the PhD? Would I have returned to Kansas City and/or taken my current job? How, if at all would my appearance be changed? Would I have had more/different experiences in my life to this point? I am confident that my educational path would have been unchanged, but perhaps, it would not have taken an extra year to complete - general malaise tends to sap ambition. I likely would not have come back to Kansas City right after finishing school. The other questions I can barely contemplate. Although I would never be able to solidly answer any of these questions, the thought of removing the pain would the most preferable. But this train of though occurred many months ago and now things are different.
It was only in the last few weeks that I have changed my opinions on this introspection and my newly formed relationship with Megan has been the driving factor. I have never felt anything so intense. While I thought that I was, what I referred to as, "happy", years ago, that feeling bears no resemblance to the present day which is seemingly on an entirely different plane of existence. Only the last several weeks have allowed me to realize that any event that I would have considered changing from my past would have precluded even crossing paths with Megan. At this moment I can say that I would not want any event from my past changed in any way. Everything that has happened in the past has brought me to where I am now and I believe that I am truly happy. I have always believed that the past is of great importance and mistakes are meant to be learned from. I will always continue to reflect on decisions I have made, but I will not do so with such harshness. Everything seems to happen for a reason.