Countless Lives


My father recently forwarded Roger Cohen’s editorial, The Vast Realm of ‘If’. A poignant read that struck a familiar chord up until the curtain call which felt a little too defeated for my pollyanna disposition.

“What happens only just happens; then inevitability is conferred upon it. Between the lived and the not-quite-lived lies the little word “if.” It’s a two-letter invitation to the vast realm of the hypothetical, the counterfactual, and all the various paths not taken over the course of a life.” ~ Roger Cohen (Source: The New York Times)

I remember 20+ years of postcollege ideas, most of which dried-up and blew away in the wind. Not all of them though. There have been magnificent successes; some painful failures; plenty of nail-biting, transformative adventures… I echo Cohen’s lament:

“Hypothetically speaking, we need countless lives. There is not enough time. Or so it may seem.” ~ Roger Cohen (Source: The New York Times)

We do. We do! And absent those lives, we’re left to the earnest task of shoehorning in as many as we can into this one. Right now.

And that defeated curtain call? Here’s a glimpse.

“There is beauty in our dreams of change, our constant what ifs. Days begin in the realm of solemn undertakings — to eat less, to exercise more, to work harder, or to go gentler. They end with wobbles into compromise, or collapses into indulgence, with the perennial solace of the prospect of another day… It’s an illusion to think it would have been simple to change. We live lives that reflect our natures. Memory grows, a refuge, a solace, a repository so vast that what happened and what almost did begin to blur.” ~ Roger Cohen (Source: The New York Times)

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