At work, when we reference an experience that happened at another employer, it is a common lead in to say, “In my previous life…” As with most people, I have segmented experiences within my life. There’s my life before MOH (19 years), my time at my first job (17 years), our years raising a youngling (20 ish years), camping days (20 years’ worth of memories), and many other parts of living a life, all of them overlapping and varying in length. But what about experiences outside of my current life?
I’m not saying I do believe in other life experiences, (including but not limited to past life memories, reincarnation, and out of body experiences) but I’m not saying I don’t. I do know I have strong feelings about situations and life events that I have supposedly never personally experienced. And honestly, as time goes on, it becomes more common that when I turn to MOH and say, “Remember when we blah, blah, blah…” he looks at me with a blank look and says, “That wasn’t me.” Clearly I’ve been involved in an alternate world in which I only thought he was there with me. Perhaps it was his avatar.
When I was in second grade, a biography about Susan B. Anthony affected me so profoundly that I went through a period of time in which I felt I had shared her protesting experiences. I was eight years old! While I don’t believe I knew Susan B. Anthony in a previous life, as an adult, the idea of past life memories continues to fascinate me. I have read a number of books and have seen some interesting documentaries on the topic. Again, I don’t have a strong position on the matter, but I do find it intriguing and I’d be happy to have a discussion with anybody else that may be interested.
I admit that what I affectionately refer to as my past life memories are more fantasies and daydreams. I envision myself living in New York City in a third floor walk-up. I spend my days at home with my dog and two foster dogs, writing novels. They aren’t classics or bestsellers, but they cover the bills. I do some dog walking on the side to pay for extras. In the evenings I’m on the town hanging out with friends, going to the theater or nightclubs, and just enjoying the lights, the sights, and sounds of the city. When I walk home in the wee hours of the morning I can hear Glenn Frey whispering in my ear, “You belong to the city, concrete under your feet.”
Diverging paths, happenstance, and individual choices affecting a person’s life in profound ways are the premise of countless books and movies. There are millions of folks who have wondered how their life might be different if a different decision had been made or ‘if only’ that situation hadn’t happened. I know with certainty that my life would be hugely different if not for one fateful event.
Because of that event, I moved to a different town and MOH and I started our lives somewhere totally different than what we had planned. I took a job and worked at the same company for seventeen years. My mind boggles with the thoughts of not having met the hundreds of people I came to know and of not having those 17 years of experiences. What a different life it would have been. I don’t spend time fretting about whether my life would be better or worse based on such circumstances. I do muse on how it would be different.
Another saying we have at work is, “In my next life, I am going to…” But that’s a thought for different blog.