Sometimes he fantasised that at the end of his life, he would be shown a home movie of all the roads he had not taken and where they would have led. Anne Tyler “The Amateur Marriage”.
Anne Tyler is one of my favourite authors. I have just finished “A Spool of Blue Thread” and love the way she creates such absorbing drama from ordinary human situations. It’s comforting to read her descriptions of family life and see that my own family is not the only one to have unspoken tensions, secrets and long-entrenched muddles!
This quote from The Amateur Marriage holds real power for me for it neatly sums up one of the quandaries that face so many people at some time or other. Am I on the right track? Have I made the best choices? Am I making the most of my opportunities? What would I do if I had my time again?
You may have had a very different reaction. The words could seem irrelevant.
It is true that there are times when taking stock of your life and the path that you are on is the natural thing to do. You have the desire and the capacity.
And there are other times when you are not ready.
When you are going through a major life upheaval, for example a divorce, bereavement or an unwanted disruption in your career, then your energy is naturally directed at basic survival. Your focus is on the day to day. If you are one of those people who like to understand the upheaval, then you will also be engaged in self-reflection, with or without external support, making sense of what has happened and deepening your self-awareness.
But if this quote stirs your interest, even faintly, then this is a sign that you are recovering and healing, ready to widen your field of vision.
Then you might like to consider the quote again. Allow yourself to day-dream a little.
What story would your movies tell, of all the roads not taken and where they would have led?
If this question intrigues you and you’d like to dig a little deeper, then sign up to our newsletter. It comes out about twice a month and goes beyond what we write on the blog with stories, insights and tips to help you live a rich and fulfilling life.
We would be also delighted if you would share this with anyone you think could benefit from it in any way!