I love learning about histories: histories of people, societies, nations, everything. And I often find myself asking “What if” questions, like “What if the U.S. hadn’t entered the fight against Nazi Germany?” or “What if this or that politician had won an election instead of the other person?” I even think about less common things like, “What if the Chinese were the first settlers of the New World?” or “What if someone suddenly came along today that the Jewish people believed to be their messiah?” Such questions and possibilities are endless.
But what about our own histories? What if we had done things differently? This thought no doubt crosses our minds from time to time.
Regardless of whether we are nearing the end of our careers or sitting squarely in the middle of them, it is inevitable that we look back over our lives and ask these big “What if” questions? The biggest question of all is essentially the same for most of us: What if I had chased that big dream?
So let me ask candidly: Have you been merely living the false American Dream? Did you let your true, deep-seated dreams and goals—the ones from your youth—fall by the wayside in exchange for a mortgage, more stuff, the approval of social media, and addictions to sports, TV, and politics?
If you regret not having pursued any of your dreams, I will tell you that in many cases, you still have time. If the “What if” question haunts you today, think how much worse the same question will feel when you are on your deathbed. There is still time. Your one shot is still out there. Wouldn’t you rather have tried and failed than die asking “What if?”
How about we leave our What Ifs behind, and instead let’s start this new year by going for those big dreams and goals.