I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year asking, What if…?
If you’ve read my story about my concussion and senior year of college, you know it’s been a hell of a year. Short version: I took a hit to the head during softball practice and sustained a severe concussion that basically destroyed me for four months.
I’ve been symptom-free for 6 months now, but while the injury was temporary, the emotional effects are permanent. I have been changed both positively and negatively, and it’s difficult to keep from replaying that moment (and many moments afterward) and wondering what my life would be like if things had gone differently.
Let’s flash back. I’m on first during an intersquad scrimmage. It’s a week and a half before the first game of my senior season. I’ve worked my ass off to make sure I’m in top form. I’m stronger, faster, and more ready to play than I have ever been.
I check the outfield’s position, then look toward third. Coach is halfway through signals. I think I see the steal sign, but I’m not sure. The pitcher begins her motion. I rock back. Do I steal or not? I’m indecisive. My lead is a half-step late. I take off toward second.
The throw is up the line. As I drop into my slide, the shortstop catches the throw high and brings it down on my helmet. I finish my slide hard, and the ball flies out of the glove into right field.
What if I hadn’t stolen? What if I had been more decisive and taken off a half-step earlier? What if I had been less decisive and started a half-step later? What if I had slid to the inside instead of the outside?
One little change. One split-second. I might not have been concussed. I might not have gone through four months of hell. I might have played my last seasons of softball, and I might have graduated without nearly killing myself. What would I be doing now? Where would I be living? What kind of person would I be?
What if I hadn’t gone to that neurologist who made the injury worse? What if I had come home to Tennessee as soon as it happened? What if I hadn’t pushed myself so hard? What if I had taken less medication? More medication?
There are so many things that could have happened differently.
Many of us live our lives with our eyes on the rearview mirror, looking back at forks in the road and wondering where the other choice would have taken us. But doing that will only keep us from moving forward.
Yogi Berra said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” [Click to Tweet]
No matter what we achieve or how far we travel there will always be decisions to make. Stressing over them and wondering what if won’t change the outcome. So look down each path, choose the one you believe is right, and never look back.
Things will work out.