What if…

I’m good at what-iffing the bad stuff. “What if it’s really windy on my wedding day and everyone sees my underpants?” “What if that twinge in my leg is deep vein thrombosis?” “What if I lose my job?”

There’s an illusion that what-iffing bad stuff is helpful. After all, if I’ve imagined the worst possible, then I’m prepared.

This is false. What-iffing bad stuff is mostly just a waste of time and adrenaline.

I’m trying to practice what-iffing the good stuff. It’s harder to do. And good stuff is harder to plan for.

But what if—what if I what-iffed the good stuff? Just as an experiment?

I can’t picture it. So I try harder.

Then I recoil in terror.

It would be terrible! I would just rest on my laurels and achieve nothing! I’d start believing in “manifestation” and probably forget to lock my front door! I’d be one of those terrible people who says that everything happens for a reason! I’d spend all my money on scratchers!

(That’s me what-iffing bad stuff about what-iffing good stuff.)

An alternative story: if I what-iffed the good stuff, I’d probably be a little more present. I’d be a little more open to possibility. I’d be a little more open to surprise. I’d be a little less convinced of the seductive lie that I’m in control of it all.

The thought feels like a small smile, a little breeze, the greenness of a budding tree. 

A few years ago I was talking about what-iffing with some friends. Well, actually we were talking about street parking. But there I was ready to park several blocks away from our destination, because what if there’s no closer spot? There’s a spot right here! Sure, it sucks, but it might be as good as it gets!

They convinced me to keep going. We found a spot right out front.

What if you get a spot right out front?

What if something is coming for you that is so wonderful you wouldn’t even know to ask for it if a wish-granting genie descended upon you?

What if your life is about to blossom?

What if you do get chosen?

What if you choose yourself?

What if you wake up a year from now and you have a great day, and at the end of it you realize with a shock that you haven’t even thought about that thing that used to haunt you all day—that breakup, that regret, or that hatred of how your arms look?

What if it all works out okay?

What if it all works out wonderfully?

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