In the movie Sliding Doors, we see the parallel lives that could have played out for the main character, depending on whether she catches the train or not. I sometimes catch myself thinking about the alternative lives I could have lived, had I not changed my course.
In these photos, my life path felt pretty set, I was a teacher. It wasn't just my career choice, or job, it really felt like it formed part of who I really was. It suited my personality perfectly, and I enjoyed it. Although it is no doubt an extremely challenging and demanding job, I didn't find it stressful as such. It felt right for me, and the path ahead was clear.
Then, slowly, slowly, I started to feel it wasn't, and I jumped ship. The certainty that I'd initially loved about teaching as a career suddenly felt claustrophobic and limiting.
I think about the alternative me, still teaching, and who she would have been.
Similarly, I often wonder who I would have become had my Dad not died suddenly when I was 15.
If he'd been alive, he would have been 59 today. He was a mere 42 when he died. That feels so young now that I'm just ten years younger than that.
8 months after he died, I wrote in my diary that I would now never fulfil my potential. The grief was too heavy, and I started missing school to wander about on my own. My exams were happening, and I just had no focus. If he hadn't had died, would the alternative me have achieved more academically? That sounds like I did badly at school, I didn't, and I eventually did A levels and university, but what potential was lost along the way?
Would I have been a lesser or weaker person if I hadn't survived grief? I'd even be known by a different name had my Dad lived, as I changed my name my deed poll a few months after he died. Would the alternative me, with a father be very different to the one I became?
Happy Birthday Dad