Thursday, February 5, 2009

If I Lived Another Life..

Do you ever wonder what you'd be doing if you weren't you? Or rather - if you weren't where you are in life, having made the choices you've made... maybe what you'd be doing if you could have chosen the gifts and personality you'd wanted, or if you had another life to live...

I love my life. Given anything in the world, this is what I'd want. I love my husband and kids with a fierce passion. I love being a mom, and a media production creator, and a photographer, and writer. I love my house in the woods and minivan I swore I'd never own (but mostly for those bun warmers!).

But I do find myself wondering every now and then... what if?

There is a photographer I follow on Twitter. I don't know him. He followed me first and, intrigued by his photo ID (which showed him on a mountain top taking a photo), I added him too. From what I can tell, all he does is travel around taking pictures. He sits in San Francisco cafes and drinks mocha frappucinos, listens to really cool music and takes awesome photos of whatever strikes his fancy. He travels to exotic locations like Rome and Paris and takes photos of kids swinging over lakes in summer and birds taking off from the pond in front of the Capital building. He also does weddings, although even those are not your run-of-the-mill weddings.

I fantasize sometimes about doing that. Certainly not leaving the life I love, but having another life to live that way - to travel at whim, take amazing photos of wherever I land, centering my whole existence around getting the shots I want and making beautiful images rather than trying to make something beautiful out of wherever I am at the time.

I fantasize about being the kind of person who is comfortable traveling alone and making friends everywhere I go. Having nothing to tie me to anything. And to be okay with that.

Truth is - even if everything I had right now disappeared, I'd never be that person. I like the ties that bind me to people, and to places. I like having some roots and routines. And I like traveling with someone that I can share those experiences with.

Still, it's fascinating.

It makes me think that this is what writing is for: to live vicariously through characters I create - to get to be them for a while. Maybe I'll write a book with my fictitious roving photographer. How fun would it be to live in that world every day for a few hours!?

Do you ever think about what you'd love to do or be if you had another life to live?


  1. Wow, this post knocks me out! I think about that a lot, and yes, I totally think that's part of the fun of being a writer! I get to invent other lives that I'll never live, because I'm too busy living this one and counting my blessings!

    I do love my life, even though every single day I want to escape the subdivision.

    I have wondered what would it be like if I'd chosen the horse business when I was 19 instead of becoming a recording engineer's wife. Many horsewomen I know, who are into full on competition and training, are either divorced or unmarried. I admit, at times I think that'd be alright. Nobody to worry about when you're at the barn til 10pm.

    But I'm like you- I'm so crazy in love with my man and kids, I love having these people in my life and a home to be a homebody in. I'll just live through my imaginary friend. Which makes my life even more awesome.

  2. I'm glad I'm not alone!

    I wonder what I'd be doing now if I'd gone overseas to teach like I planned, instead of to Texas (where I met my husband). What would it be like if I could be up at dawn and out at twilight taking those shots when the sun is at it's best.

    But there are kids to pick up and dinners to plan and swim lessons and piano lessons and choir...

    It's all good. It's where I want to be. So then I feel badly wondering, what if...

  3. Nah, don't feel bad. I think it's healthy to wonder. It kind of forces us to consider how great our lives really are. That's the key, I think: to realize that no matter how great the non-existent alternate life is, the one we've got is THE ONE and it's the one that counts.

    Besides, imagining "what if" is so good for the imagining muscles, right?

  4. i think id choose the same life. I lov emy family and love writing (maybe in my other life, Id be publsihed at 20 :)

  5. Beautifully said. This is something I often wonder too. I recently bought Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch because it explores this question (haven't read it yet though).

    And I love the bum warmers in my car too :)

  6. Lenore - I wonder if this is how James Thurber came up with The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

    I'll have to look up Time of My Life. I've never heard of it, but now I am fascinated!