Life is a path with many forks. When you choose one, the others continue to exist and for each turn not taken, a separate reality based on the choice you didn’t make is created. If we had the right magic — or physics — we could go back and explore those other realities. It might be interesting, or horrifying.


During the summer between my junior and senior year, I got a three-way choice.

Door number one. My old boyfriend — with whom I could not have a civil conversation, but with whom I had exceptional sex — sent me tickets to join him on Cape May for the summer. After which, anything could happen. At 18, it was a surprisingly attractive offer.

Door number two. The guy I’d been dating asked me to marry him. I liked him. I don’t think anyone would classify it as deathless romance, but it was a serviceable, sturdy kind of relationship. Building-a-life kind of love.

Door number three. I was accepted as a transfer student to Boston University. They had (still have) a terrific program in communications. I wanted that degree … and to be in Boston. In the 1960s, Boston was a super cool town, unlike very uncool Hempstead.

It was a lot of deciding.

I chose to get married. Not the most thrilling choice, but it gave me a safe harbor to finish school, start a career, break out of my parent’s control — all of which were important for me. It was not just marriage. It was emancipation.

Was it the “just right” choice? Your guess is as good as mine. We make choices based on who we are at the time of choosing, plus what we want, know, or guess about the future.

I made a sane choice, a reasoned choice. One I thought I could handle. It worked out. I haven’t put much time into wondering where the other paths might have led. It doesn’t matter. Here is where I am and I believe it’s where I ought to be.

My current home.

It’s amusing to wonder if that summer was the beginning of three realities, two of which exist on other planes, somewhere in the time-space continuum. “Out there” is a Marilyn who went to Boston, another who went to Cape May.

If I ever bump into them, I’ll have to make sure and ask me how it went.

Hello, Goldilocks!

Categories: Boston, Humor, Relationships, Sci Fi - Fantasy - Time Travel

Tags: , , ,

34 replies

  1. Choices and decisions are never made in a vacuum. Looking back it is always easy to see things differently, but at the moment you have to decide based on the info available. As Lenny Bruce used to say “You have to deal with what is, not with what should be”. Or in this case what might have been. Great post!


  2. I think wondering “what if” is often the start of disaster. I make choices and yes, some of them might be highly questionable, others might be silly or not very logical, but these are my choices. I would believe in wrong choices, than I would start to feel regret.


    • I agree. When you are looking backward, you are apt to walk right into poles and walls. Looking back and second guessing yourself is not only pointless, it undermines your self-esteem and can really mess with your mind. I don’t go there. I refuse. I have enough going on right now. I have nothing left for reviewing the past.


  3. Don’t forget these are choices, and not everyone gets a chance to make those choices. I don’t think there is a right or wrong choice. Not doubt what ever you chose will take you down a different path and that is the adventure of life.


    • I think all of us are constantly making choices, whether or not we realize it. Every step we take, everything we say. It’s all this or that, now or later, yes or no. We don’t stop to think about our choices most of the time because we have determined what we want, chosen our responsibilities. Decided where we are going and how we will get there. But we don’t actually have to go that way, or do those things.

      It’s one of the more interesting things that happens in retirement, that you start to realize you don’t actually HAVE to do things the way you always have done them. You CAN make other choices.


  4. We have to live with our choices. What I don’t like is when bad choices are blamed on someone else. Own your choice and don’t look back.


  5. Like Borges’ “Garden of Forking Paths” 🙂


  6. The older we get the number of choices we make grows exponentially. I often wander how my life would have been different had I stayed in college and gotten my degree in Mathematics instead of joining the air Force in a wartime situation and developing a career as an electronics troubleshooter. I married 3 times for different reasons. I wonder if my first wife hadn’t disappeared on the way to join me in the states would that marriage have been a lifetime commitment. So many choices, so many different lives and paths have changed along the way. My one reality is that I am who I am today because of all those choices and life experiences.


    • I think there’s no percentage in rethinking long past decisions and events that were never within our control. What if the college I attended had let me stay an extra year to get a different B.A. so I could have pursued graduate studies? Would I be an academic? Would that have been a better career than what I had? if I hadn’t gone to Israel, would I have married Garry? If if if if …

      Life just is. I think we end up where, for whatever reason, we are supposed to be. To think anything else is a good way to drive yourself nuts.


  7. Thank you for the other realities that you are living but not conscious of. I have mentioned that possibility to many people, and they want to lock me up! When I am having trouble falling asleep, I sometimes think about all the branches of my alternate lives, and I fall asleep pretty quickly. It tires my brain out while keeping it from worrying about current things.


  8. True. We come across several ‘Y’ junctions. We make a choice, consciously or otherwise. Often we blame others or external factors for our problems. But if we look back, we are apt to find our problems are due to a choice we ourselves made earlier.


  9. Decisions, decisions. But doesn’t it all work out in the end somehow? That was an interesting crossroads you walked, am still trying to work out what I would have done, but that is the essence of it all. We are individual and make our own choices Glad you chose WordPress.


    • WordPress was a totally random choice. I fell into it, as I fell into blogging. I was following someone’s blog because he used the same cameras I do and was much better on the technical stuff than me … a big help since there was no manual. After I registered with WP, I discovered I could have a blog of my own. I had been signed up for quite a while before I gave it a try.

      I think we always wind up in the right place because there’s no wrong place. Destiny rules!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I was a long while in Multiply, loved it and still have contacts from those days, but they did not join WordPress as they were not really bloggers. I was already in WordPress just as a backup sideline for my stories and then I joined completely and did my own site (my cats also have their own).


        • It seems odd to me — now — that I didn’t start blogging sooner. A lot of people suggested I try it and I always said, “sure, okay,” but never did anything about it. I think I thought it would be too complicated and in a way, I was right. The process of just writing a little something isn’t complicated, but when you get into it, it becomes like a job. With daily deadlines. It’s hard for me to remember what I used to do before I started doing this. It has consumed a great deal of my life. I like it, but it was a bigger deal than it looked like at first.


  10. love this post- we make decisions and choices based on who we are at the time- rang so true for me.


  11. This is one great post, Marilyn …

    I read and re-read it a a few times as there is something I could very well relate to, in this story.

    Being at the cross roads of my career and taken a rather tough decision to take a break from a regular job, I am in search of something meaningful …

    Thank you so much for sharing and have a beautiful day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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