Do you ever look at yourself and wonder “what if”?

When I was a toddler we had a neighbour, an old woman named Mrs Twine, who gave piano lessons. One day, after I sat with her while she played, she remarked to my parents that I was a natural, since I’d tapped my foot to the rhythm as she played. She wanted to teach me but my parents didn’t allow it. Adult me is about as musical as a potato.

But I do wonder how different my life would have been if little things like that had played out differently. Maybe I was a natural. Maybe in some other universe there’s a me who turned out to be a musician or an artist and found great commercial success. Maybe this other me is famous there? What if?

What if I’d found commercial success? What type of person might I have turned out to be? What if I remained like my brother, and did not reject the religion of my parents? Without my skepticism, would I have been happy in my ignorance, or would I feel that something is missing? What if I settled into white privilege and did not come to care about humanism, equality, racism, feminism and all the things I care about? What if I didn’t become an addict for a while and fall, then gain an understanding of poverty? What if I didn’t fall in love with a brown-skinned girl, never crossed the racial line, never rejected the racism of my upbringing and had a child with someone who isn’t white?

I think that despite all the shit I put myself through, in some ways because of my addiction, I came out of it a better, smarter, wiser person. Though I have my regrets, I am satisfied that (while not financially), I am the best me that I could be… Emotionally, intellectually, and morally. I couldn’t be more satisfied with who I am.

But still I wonder, how much of this me is due to nature and how much is nurture? If things were different, what would that person, that other me, have been like? Would he be likeable? Would he be a good person? I don’t know why I think of these things… Do we all? Do you?

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