No Matter What – Day 10

Modern Elevator Hall Interior

G:  What choices have you made that, had you made a different choice, you feel your life would have been completely different. Not necessarily better or worse but just different.

P:  Last month I had an opportunity to make a choice that would have definitely changed life as I know it.  You can read about it in my post The One That Got Away.

Although it may appears as though nothing has changed externally, I can assure you that everything has rearranged itself internally.

I have this saying in my office that reads, “The deepest joy exists in those rare instances of clarity when there is no wanting, no yearning, no clinging to some idealized life we believe exists somewhere other than exactly where we are.”

I got to experience of one those rare instances of clarity as I struggled to choose between the dream I’d held onto for the past 20 years and the reality I’d been quietly but consciously concocting the last 8.

I got to think about other choices I’d made that could have radically changed the course of my life. Like choosing to remain in the Midwest instead of going to graduate school in California right after 9/11.  Or staying at my fitness job in Texas instead of moving to Mexico to work at an upscale spa long before that.

In the end I simply reminded myself we are always where we need to be, doing exactly what we need to be doing.  Actually, this was one of my “wear sunscreen” pieces of advice I wrote for graduates in my booklet, The Graduate’s Guide to Life.

I came across this today by Elizabeth Gilbert in her book Big Magic.  “I understand that the best you can hope for in such a situation is to let your old idea go and catch the next idea that comes around. And the best way for that to happen is to move on swiftly, with humility and grace.  Don’t fall into a funk about the one that got away.  Don’t beat yourself up.  Don’t rage at the gods above.”

And I absolutely love this from Dear Sugar, aka Cheryl Strayed, “I’ll never know and neither will you of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.”

So here I am now, gratefully writing from – I kid you not – Shoreline Drive, saluting all the ships that have sailed without me.


Join us in playing the No Matter What Game. We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.  Or contact Gillian at and arrange to have her send you your very own prompts to get your creative juices flowing .

0 Replies to “No Matter What – Day 10”

  1. Hello my dear friend. When my world fell apart in 1995, and subsequently decided to start a new life in 1996, I was at a very low point. I told my dad that I felt I had just wasted 11 years of my life. His reply was almost exactly what you wrote. He said, “No, you were where you needed to be.” Those words have stuck with me ever since.
    Now when I have those, “I’m wasting my life” moments, I remind myself what he said and try to live in the moment.
    Oh how I miss his wisdom.
    Take care.

  2. The thing I love about being a writer is I know the power of words to heal. Of course, I’m acutely aware of their power to destroy, so choosing them wisely is a must. Clearly, your dad knew his daughter well enough to know what to say to you when you needed him most. And now every time you need some of his wisdom, you have his words. Your dad would be so proud of all you’ve become.

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