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Imagining an Alternate Life

April 28, 2013

Have you ever thought about an alternate life?  You know where you image what your life might be like if you had made choices or you had ended up different places.

This happens to me every time I visit Toronto.   Each time I’m there, I spend part of the day imaging what life would be like if I lived there.  I love the idea of spending Sunday afternoon biking along the waterfront, of walk just a few blocks to enjoy dinner in an amazing Thai or India or Ethiopia restaurant, of taking in the many cultural and musical opportunities that would be just a short transit ride from my door.  I just love all the possibilities that exist in Toronto.  And yet, if you ask, I would say I hate the city.  I mostly hate the challenges associated with traffic and parking.  And aside from these few days a year I spend in the city, I never dream about living there.  I love my farm with wide open spaces and birds and trees and lack of neighbours far too much to think I’d be happy in the city for long.  But it is one of the alternate lives I sometimes imagine.

Coincidentally, last night I watch the movie Changing Lanes, which includes the following monologue by Ben Affleck’s character.  In it, he talks about the miss opportunities that you always wonder about.  This is just another form of the imagining an alternate life.

“It’s like you go to the beach. You go down to the water. It’s a little cold. You’re not sure you want to go in. There’s a pretty girl standing next to you. She doesn’t want to go in either. She sees you, and you know that if you just asked her her name, you would leave with her. Forget your life, whoever you came with, and leave the beach with her. And after that day, you remember. Not every day, every week… she comes back to you. It’s the memory of another life you could have had. Today is that girl.”

It seems to me that imagining our lives were different in some way is pretty normal.  And perhaps it is just semantics, but I think imagining and thinking about alternates once is awhile is different from dreaming or hoping for something different.  And imaging an alternate life isn’t necessarily a reflect of how you feel about your current life, you can be totally happy with your life and still imagine living in Toronto and spending Sunday afternoons biking along the lake shore in the Beaches.

Sky Report at 10:00 – bright but not overly sunny or clear

Yarn Strands: white and light slate blue


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