If only I had given in to a fear of the unknown.
If only I had said ‘enough is enough, my pencils are sharp enough’.
If only I had shrouded my enthusiasm and passion for EVERYTHING.
If only I had said “thanks, but I’m too busy”.
If only I had stuck to my to-do list and just did what I needed to do.
I wouldn’t have thrown my cards to the wind and found a different game.
I wouldn’t have said this is not what I want.
I wouldn’t have sought out the catalyst that changed everything.
I wouldn’t have taken the leap.
I wouldn’t have honed the craft sleeping just below the surface.
I wouldn’t have deployed my FILDI* at just the right moment.
I wouldn’t have been connected with so many incredible human beings.
My beautiful, bizarre Aunt Josie (may she continue to rest peacefully) taught me at the ripe age of 14 that regret is for the birds. While teaching me the art of pool hustling, I kept saying “If only I…” each time I epically failed at billiard mastery. She grew tired of my teenage grumblings and finally took my by the shoulders, looked me square in the face, and said “If your aunt had balls, I’D BE YOUR UNCLE!”
That was just one of many WTF Aunt Josie moments**, but it will stay with me forever. She taught me that night that “if only” is a cop out. She told me that the universe has a special way about it. That when something is meant to happen, it will happen. But we have to keep our eyes open and our hearts exposed to the possibilities. Aunt Josie instructed me that night that the ONLY time “if only” is allowed is during the joyous recollection of how this enormous, complex universe delivers amazing opportunities often shrouded as peculiar coincidences.
And tonight, I’m reminded of that pool hustling lesson. And my dear Aunt Josie. And all the beauty she brought into this world. So here’s to you, Aunt Josie.
*FILDI=Fuck It, Let’s Do It
**Including but not limited to: the time she gave me her “old” hash stash box for my graduation present, the time she set fire to her hair while trying to sing a song about sailors putting socks on, the time she suffered two brain aneurysm ruptures and was doing crossword puzzles just three days after brain surgery, the time I found cookie sheets stapled to her bathroom ceiling, etc.