What If?

There are some days where the culmination of a simple, otherwise inconsequential string of events has the most fascinating, most interesting impact on my life.

Some days I’ll run late for work, and I’ll come upon an accident that has just happened. If I’d been on time, would I have been in it?

A few times in recent years, I’ve gotten a spontaneous call while on my way home; a friend asks to meet for a drink or a quick bite. Deep conversations ensue about a difficult time they’re going through, and I’m grateful that I was going nowhere but home — for perhaps I helped that friend go anywhere except deeper into a hole.

Sometimes we happen to be in the right place at the right time to overhear conversations that aren’t accurate or which need some guidance, and we’re there to lend our expertise or experience.

Other times we may simply be doing our usual routine when something manages to find us.

I headed home from work tonight and my head felt like it was in a vice. A massive headache came out of nowhere this afternoon and it was manifesting itself as a pounding in my forehead, throbbing behind my eyes and tension in my neck. Always a good time.

After making it to the freeway, I tuned into a station on the radio. Traffic was heavy, which meant my speed was nearly nonexistent and the road noise was more hushed than normal. I had a chance to focus on the lyrics I was hearing.

They talked about the bigger picture, and “what if” there’s a greater purpose. “What if” there’s more beyond our own little world?

I wrote recently about how I love advertising, but sometimes I think about what I do (make ads, sell cars) and it all seems so…weird. You know? All the stress, all the tense meetings, all the meetings before meetings and meetings after meetings, all the politics, all the document-creating, document-shredding and document back-pocketing. It’s not that I don’t get enjoyment out of my career, because I absolutely do. It’s just that I wonder sometimes: is there more?

Of course there is. I see people post about their time volunteering, their time traveling or their time giving back, and it makes my heart glad. Maybe this writing thing is it for me — I certainly find it rewarding. Or what if it’s not? Maybe my “it” has yet to be found, or maybe it’ll come to light one evening when I’m sitting here plunking away at the keyboard, trying to make my daily deadline. What if a simple post is read by someone who knows someone who knows someone, and some connection is made that could be life changing?

That’s the awesomeness of “what ifs.” They’re infinite. They just require one step in a chosen direction.

The song resonated in me in a way that nothing else has for quite a while. It brought tears to my eyes. Maybe it’s because I felt like I was hearing my innermost thoughts in song form, as if my subconscious had been busy pulling all-nighters recently to craft a tune to surprise me with (might explain why I’ve been sleeping so poorly as of late). Or maybe it was a sense of relief that at least one other person out there felt the same way as me. Maybe it was a little bit of frustration, as though something was lyrically slapping me in the face and saying, “You want some inspiration to do more? To feel more? To see beyond your world? Alright, how’s this?”

It’s feasible that I could’ve stayed at work for two or three more hours beyond when I left this evening. And if I had, I would’ve missed that song. But everything from leaving when I did, to flipping through other stations and finding nothing else that I wanted to listen to, to landing on the station that I did to being able to hear the lyrics without the burden of road noise was the greatest gift I could’ve gotten.

Tonight I am thankful for the small events which added up to a great, emotionally powerful and inspiring one this evening. Now, to pick a direction in which to step.

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