“All of life is What If…not one of us can identify what that critical role is that we bring to the lives we share in common.” This has stuck with me now for almost a month. It was December, and once again I was surfing Netflix trying to find something to pass the time before my 11 year old shut his eyes for the night.

What If are probably the two strongest words that any of us will encounter. At some point over the last month, year, decade we have have uttered those words. The two words are so polarizing that they can take us down a spiral path that can make you really question yourself. Every day we encounter scenarios that occur without us knowing about. Scenarios that when we wake up in the morning have no idea are about to happen. The fender bender we got into, could that had been avoided if we went back into Taco Bell to grab more hot sauce. Or maybe I would have never met my wife if I didn’t decide to go back and ask for my college transcript. Or the numbers from MegaMillions matched the ages of our family and if we just played them, wow. Or stories like my uncle who often thinks about that day his daughter was in a fatal car accident and wondered if he just told her to stay home that night instead of meeting up with friends. What If.

The truth is that we cannot understand the bigger picture of life. We cannot understand why things happen the way they do. The life experiences we all have are so different for our fellow family members and friends. Using hypotheticals like What If’s can end up causing even more damage than good. There was an image I just came across the other day and it showed two paths of life. The first was a subtle uphill climb and a clear path. The other showed all kinds of ups and downs, obstacles, even random sharks in the water, but the end was still the same as the first path. Which path would you want to take? What if we knew our path right now, would it be just as fun and exciting? Life is about change and nothing ever stays the same. We move, we meet new people, we enter pandemics, we land new jobs. Nothing is perfectly laid out for anyone. Our high school seniors are planning their futures when we do not even know what five years from now will look like. But yet, it’s awesome!

Owen Wilson puts things so well. This one I always use for life even though he was just describing a moment. “I got that excited/scared feeling. Like 98% excited, 2% scared. Or maybe it’s more; it could be 98% scared, 2% excited but that’s what makes it so intense.”

Drop the What If’s and start the Right Now’s.

Sully