Sunday, October 7, 2012

When Worlds Divide

In a book I've been reading for the book club I'm in, and in a couple of different TV shows I watch, there's been a lot of stuff about people living multiple lives.

Which is not - well, not entirely - to say that these people are duping someone else and taking on new lives on purpose. That only happens in the book. Oh, and one of the TV shows.

But not everyone in the book who is leading multiple lives is actually doing it on purpose or by choice. They seem to kind of fall into the lives that they didn't plan on. Which I guess is where this all kind of ties in for me.

There is a theory which shows up in a certain amount of science fiction which says that every decision that is made splits off the world into multiple new realities. (Don't think about this too hard, because it will make your head hurt and you don't really need to know this.) For the sake of argument, let's just take the big decisions. For instance, what would the world be like if Kennedy had ducked? Or if Walt Disney had never gone to California? Or if you'd never gone on that one first date?

We all create alternate realities each time we fantasize about our lives. I know for a fact that my life would be different if I had won any of the lottery jackpots that I bought tickets for. But that doesn't mean that I would want to live a completely different life, I'd simply have the same life, with some differences. I don't think any of us would truly want to become someone else, entirely.

And yet, from time to time, doesn't that sound kind of fun?

Obviously a lot of people get into the idea - otherwise Halloween wouldn't be such a big deal. And there are even people who make a living at it as actors and performers. And we all, on some level, re-invent ourselves when we start new jobs or meet new friends.

I wonder, sometimes, who I'd be if I had taken other paths. If I'd taken the semester and gone on the school exchange for the speech program. If I'd taken the job teaching on the Eastern Shore. If I'd moved to Texas instead of Minnesota (yes, it was a real option for a short period of time).

But then I come back to who and where I am now, and I realize that I don't really need to know. Because I like the who and the where that I am. And the who I'm with and the where we are together. And all of the people and places and chaos and bliss that go along with it.

Still... on some strange nights when the moon is just so... the Gemini in me begins to wonder what the other versions of me are doing in those other realities.

And I wonder if they think about me, too.

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