In life, there are often very distinct crossroads where we must choose a direction. Some of us spend hours deliberating over which path to take. Sometimes the decision is made for us and at other times, people just say 'Fuck it.' and put their best foot forward. I'm usually the latter. Upon choosing a University, I didn't bother with the 'open days'. I just vaguely recalled my mother and sister saying that "Canterbury was nice" and so I packed up the car and set off. I have to confess, I wasn't even really sure where it was! But luckily I had my 'Kent University' pamphlet, proudly displaying a cluster of happy students, one of whom I recall was considerably overweight and bore a damp, sweaty camel toe. If she was clearly having so much fun then surely I would, too?
ANYWAY... in my life, I often put my best foot forward and try to just get on with it. But like all people, I often wonder 'What if... WHAT IF?'
This morning, my best friend put in a request that I write an article about a certain major crossroad in my childhood. One in which I didn't have a choice but what if, as a family, we had taken a different path?
Let me give you a little background information...
As a child, my father worked for a computer company called Lotus and when we were three years old, we were transferred (with Grandma in tow) to a small town outside of Boston, Massachusetts. It was very close to Concord and a short drive from Walden Pond, famous for Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and dubbed by Henry James as "the biggest little place in America". The area has a rich literary history and is renowned for its natural beauty. Some of the worlds most famous writers lay buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.
And so we spent three very happy years living there: growing up in the glorious surroundings of New England and privileged enough to witness the amazing autumnal falls. This period of my life has rich material for future scribblings but we'll save that for another day, shall we? As far as idyllic childhoods go, this one was pretty high up on the scale. We had nature at our fingertips, possibly the greatest ice cream parlour of all time within a stone's throw, wonderful neighbours and incredible scenery. Scenery that inspired some of history's greatest writers.
And yet, with all wonderful things, they must come to an end. And so we were promptly deferred back to the UK.
The question my best friend begs is 'Imagine that you had never left? Imagine if you had STAYED there?'
If you must know, this is a little challenging for me. I have often wondered who I might have become but there are so many external factors that would have influenced me that it is almost impossible to have a clear idea. I'm not the only person involved at this crossroad. There were my parents, who were destined to separate and my Grandmother, who was destined to eventually leave us. It's also a mental battle between the optimistic and the pessimistic. Should I choose to have become someone incredible? Someone most vile? Or, actually, just the same?
Answers on a postcard please... I can't make this decision by myself and so, dear bloggers, are you a pessimist or an optimist? Is the glass half full or half empty? Shall I be a bitch, a beast or brilliant?
As always, you can leave a comment OR contact me via Facebook.
(Sally Rosetta Gurteen)
Let the voting commence!