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If only I had ...

Four words! Four little words that can cause chaos and thoughts, all because of a sunset!

We get some stunning sunsets where I live. There is very little light pollution so most evenings we have a clear sky and sunsets so dramatic that the only thing to drive you indoors is a swarm of midges. The other night this was the sky that faced me on my walk before bedtime, full of lavender, pink and grey, it was a living Turner painting. But as is quite often the way in Scotland, those little devil midges started to bite and I had to head back to the cottage. Walking back it was so tempting to turn round and stop to stare again at this amazing sky but to do this would be to incur yet one more itchy insect bite so home, pj's, and goodbye sunset!

That temptation to turn around for one last look is something we all go through. Whether it is leaving a house we have just sold, a view on a day out, or one last longing look at a handbag we can't afford in a shop window, we all do it. But why? Is it regret? Indecision? A day out we don't want to end so we keep checking that sea view in the wing mirror? Or is it the "if only I had" syndrome?


The "if only I had" syndrome is one I came up with to explain, what I initially thought were, several bad decisions. You know the why did I leave that job, frying pan, fire etc etc ... if only I hadn't paid this months rent then that bag could have been mine ... and on it goes. As I said at the beginning, four little words that can cause chaos of thought and bank balance especially when it is genuinely connected to a moment of real regret. There is a scene in the pilot episode of Sex and the City where Carrie bumps into "Big" for the first time. After an embarrassing scene with the contents of her handbag, she walks away trying her best not to turnaround to see if he is watching her. He is of course and thus starts the heartache!

When I left my last job, I snuck out the door when it was the end of my shift without saying a last goodbye. Two reasons, one I am a cry baby and two, I had started to have doubts about my choice. I walked along the corridor not turning around because in this case, my Big was indecision in my choices. As Ms Bradshaw would type,"I couldn't help but wonder" what would I have done if I had changed my mind and not gone to University but gone back to an industry I knew well. The answer to that one is simple, unhappiness, that's what! But what if the "if only I had ..." still leaves that nagging doubt. It's a familiar story the questions, questions questions ... if only I had told my boss why that project really went wrong, if only I had told my friend that I knew her husband was cheating, if only I had reached my hand out to his, if only I had been there when they got sick ... like I said ... chaos of thought caused by four little words.


I guess we just have to accept that "if only I had"falls into the everything happens for a reason bucket and somewhere in our subconscious, realise that we know why we didn't look back physically or metaphorically. Looking back can lead to regret but, spinning it to a positive, it can also lead to a wave, a smile that makes you blush or in all honesty, a possibility. It's a tough choice, if only we had the answer, and if only our mind would stop turning back to "I couldn't help but wonder", would the chaos caused by these four words not turn into a kicking ourselves or a call to the bank manager to extend our overdraft. Possibility, especially in relationships, can be a scary thing. We don't know what will happen, the sunset might turn to darkness, we might get bitten several times but we also might just open our world to something rather nice.


So the next time, for me, if only I had is out the window. Time to focus on possibility, turn around, reach out a hand to hold and remember to carry midge spray!


All photos, apart from Carrie Bradshaw, belong to me so please do not copy without my permission.

Carrie Bradshaw photo sourced from Pinterest










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