The other day I was commenting to my girls about the wonderful human lottery they won just by managing to be born. I can’t recall how we got on the topic – it was struck up during the ride to town, where the conversation can twist and turn more frequently than the country road we travel to get there.

In any case, I was trying to explain to them that their being here was the result of an infinite chain of events that if altered even slightly, may have resulted in some kid named Sylvester or Gretchen sitting in the back seat instead of them. I don’t think they really understood. I mean is it a lot to take in for a kid whose main goal that day was purchasing a new Skylander figure and texting “mom’s nuts” to a boyfriend.

But it does make you think…what took me to where I sit right now and how might my life had been altered if I had done just one or two things differently? I ponder on this every now and then – I try to figure out where my crossroads were.

I know one of them is when I was in my 20’s. My first job out of college was as a designer for Tiger Beat magazine. After a few years I was made Art Director and had a decent little career going. However, our company folded and the magazines were purchased by Sterling/McFadden Publications. They offered me to continue with them as the Art Director with an increase in salary of about $2,000.

That would mean my job would move from convenient Teaneck, NJ to the big bad streets of NYC. It would mean my commute would go from a 12 minute car drive to a one hour bus ride, plus commuting costs. And taxes. The increase in salary wouldn’t come close to covering those extra costs. I’d be losing money.

So, I turned them down. I figured I could find another job easily – I was talented and young. And stupidly wrong. It took me over 3 years to find another steady job in the graphics field – 3 years spent doing anything to make a dime. I waitressed, worked in a window factory as a receptionist, and was a cashier at a liquor store. During this time my field changed from old fashioned paste up to the world of desktop publishing which made it even harder to get a job.

Eventually I did, and learned all the new fangled stuff I needed to know. The key was that I was generally talented and could design decently. But I always wonder where I would be right now if I had taken that job in the city. Who knows what kind of connections I would’ve made at a publisher of that size. Instead of the designer of a crappy free real estate newspaper in Virginia, I could’ve been working at a magazine on the national level. I might have met interesting and influential people. Maybe I would’ve had a set of friends instead of pair of cats.

That road might also have led me down a more sinister path. Perhaps I would’ve met up with a rapist or a murderer. Maybe my foolish decision spared me from getting hit by a bus, or contracting AIDS. Only God knows. But it’s these thoughts that keep me from having any regrets in the road I did chose.

Lots of other factors in my life might not be exactly what I dreamed of, but you know what? I’m glad to still be walking on this earth and I’m thankful to have my two girls instead of Sylvester and Gretchen.

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