left instead of right

It’s all very interesting… the directions this life takes us.

A single real estate listing can lead you to pack up your house just a few months later.

Browsing a job board when you aren’t seriously looking can have you moving across the country for a new opportunity.

Opening the door when someone knocks might find you signing up for a new pest control company because saying “no” is always harder than it should be.

Turning left instead of right can change your entire course of life… hopefully for the better.

I use that last one as an example often. More than that, actually. Just last week I used it as a joke when asking anyone who read my Facebook post how I managed to be in my 40th year before watching Jackie Brown. But really… how did I get away with that for so long?

I think about that last one often. A few years ago, I left work earlier in the day than usual due to a 5am start to my day. This rarely happened for me as my schedule was solidly a 7-4 kind of thing, filled with meetings upon meetings. However, I was working a larger conference that week, Thanksgiving week, so that my team members could take time off for the holiday. It was the last day of the event, they were moved out, and I left work much earlier than usual.

Traffic came to a halt about 2 miles from my exit. This isn’t strange for this stretch of interstate but it was very strange for this time of day. The wind was also extreme that day, trash blowing around, trees bracing against the gusts, I felt safe from it, hiding out a couple of cars behind a semi as it broke the wind for me. However, I remember thinking that the wind was unusual for that time of year.

Appearing over the top of the semi, almost frozen in mid-air, a large piece of wood hovered above traffic. Perhaps a concrete form blown off of a trailer… sailing along a gust of wind. It disappeared from view as it blew overhead. I turned my attention to my rear view mirror, waiting to see it continue on it’s journey, but it wasn’t there. As soon as I realized why, it came crashing down, corner first, onto the roof of my car. Pieces of my roof rack flew off, hitting the cars next to me, and traffic started moving again.

Just like that. We sat there for maybe a minute, just long enough to be be the lucky one who received a big ol’bear hug from that rogue piece of flying lumber and then we were on our way again. No rhyme or reason to the slow down. But certainly one of those circumstances where leaving work earlier than usual that day caused a chain reaction of events that didn’t leave my life until I had the replacement roof rack we bought for the old car (and never installed) installed on my new one just a few months ago.

What would be different today had I not left work at 2pm that Wednesday afternoon in November? There are a lot of obvious car related “what ifs” but does it go beyond that? Would the absence of conversations from coworkers about what happened to my car have been filled with other topics? Or would the conversations not happened at all? Did that set into motion anything larger? It’s vast, when you think about it.

Like really think about it.

What if I had turned left instead of right back in 1998 on the way home from work.

What if?

One thought on “left instead of right

  1. I think about all sorts of “what if’s” all the time. Honestly, I probably do it too often. Replaying events, thinking how if I would have said or done something differently it could have altered my life in so many ways. Feeling like I missed out on possible relationships, or memorable times, or all sorts of things. I usually get too far down the rabbit hole about once a month. But then it’s out of my system… until the next time….

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