Why I've Stopped Dwelling On What-Ifs

Why I've Stopped Dwelling On What-Ifs

It's time to take your mom's advice.
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Wednesday afternoon, I started the long trek up to New York from Tallahassee, Florida. We planned to make the drive in two days: the first day we would stop in Knoxville, and then we’d drive the next day all the way to Buffalo. As often is the case, things did not go as planned: after enjoying a nice sit-down dinner in a small town in Georgia, we walked into the parking lot and realized our rental car had been broken into.

The passenger door window was smashed; there was glass all over the carseat, the middle console, and the pavement. We immediately called the police and got the attention of the manager of the restaurant. I barely noticed all of this, though, because I was so astonished that it had actually happened to me. I’ve been privileged to live my whole life so far without a single significant breach in my safety. I’d never felt so suddenly vulnerable to all sorts of dangers like I did in the half hour following the incident.

In the end, we found out that the only things missing from the car was a Michael Kors bag and my boyfriend’s mema’s work laptop. Of course it was horrible that these things were taken, but we realized we were also quite fortunate: our Dodge Grand Caravan was chock-full of not only monetary valuables, like my guitar, our game systems, and other laptops, but also emotional valuables that could’ve been damaged or lost.

For the rest of the night, I was driven wild by what-ifs: what if more had been taken? What if Mema had gone to get her drink from the car like she said she wanted to? Would she have walked right in on the robbery? What if we had parked somewhere else? What if we had kept driving through and not stopped in that town? Was there a way this could have been prevented? What if it happened again?

I had a dream that night in the hotel that the rest of our luggage sunk through the floorboards of the rental car like sinking sand. I woke up feeling similar: like I was slowly drowning in my thoughts of other scenarios, other what-ifs.

When we parked the car to get lunch the next day, we made jokes about how we’d park it right in front where we could see it from the restaurant windows. Even though we were being light-hearted, there was certainly a semblance of truth behind our joking. We were all still shaken up about it.

It wasn’t until we stopped again for dinner that it hit me: I had to stop worrying about the what-ifs. I had to stop worrying about what we could have done differently, because it didn’t matter: it had happened. And I also had to stop worrying about whether it would happen again, because I had no control over that. When it comes down to it, we really don’t have any control over a lot of things.

With this new mantra in mind, I was able to shake off most of my fear and keep moving forward. I brought this attitude with me to my first days on campus. It came in handy yesterday at my oboe placement audition, where, instead of worrying about how everyone was going to be way better than me, I focused on what I could control: my own performance.

I used to think that dwelling on what-ifs helped me to process the things that happened in my life, but what the break-in taught me was that it really just keeps you from moving forward. Obviously this will be an ongoing process — if it were easy to stop, no one would have a problem worrying about what-ifs — but until the fear is totally gone, I’m focusing on what I can control: locking my car, hiding my valuables, and parking in a well-lit area. Because when it comes down to it, focusing on what we can control is the only thing, and the best thing, that we can do.

Cover Image Credit: Beth Harrison

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8 Things I Have Not Thanked My Best Friend Forever For In, Well, Forever

Thank you for always being the best.
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1. Being there through it all, even if you're not "physically" there

We can't always be together, but you have never completely "left" me behind and have been there with me through thick and thin and I am so grateful.

2. Being my biggest cheerleader

Thank you for not only being there through the bad, but also celebrating my victories with me. I can always look forward to telling you good news because I know you'll be happy right along with me.

3. Answering my "important" phone calls

Whether it's a "he texted me back!!!" phone call, or an "I found a gray hair, please help!!" phone call, you pick up the phone and hype up with me no matter what.

4. Being selfless, and going above & beyond to make sure I know I'm worthy

This explains itself and I am so grateful for that.

5. Brushing my hair when I don't feel like it

Okay, this probably sounds silly... But it's the greatest struggle to brush my hair and I'm glad you do it for me sometimes!

6. For being there through all of my mini-crises

You already know what I'm talking about here...

7. For talking me out of things

If it wasn't for you talking me out of things, I'd probably have quit my job, be dating a horrible guy, got my eyebrow pierced, etc.

8. Making me a part of your family

I'm too lucky to have you all as my second family.

Cover Image Credit: Personal Photo

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My Soulmate Isn't My SO Or A Boy Toy, It's My BFF

I've got mine, and she is and will always be the best part of my life.

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When I was in the eighth grade I met my best friend. I did not expect to meet someone that fills all the empty spots in my heart, but she did. I did not know anyone and was new to school and she walked up and began talking to me and it was like an automatic piece to my puzzle that I had been missing for so much of my life. We just fit. We were total opposites, she is outgoing, loud, funny. As where I was shy, quiet, and I certainly could not make a whole room laugh like she did. Ever. She was everything I needed and more, she was my soulmate.

I know that sounds cliché and you're probably thinking I am over exaggerating but please hear me out. My soulmate was definitely not a boy. Trust me, I've been there and I have done that. No boy could ever have as much of my heart as my best friend does. While having someone love you and experience life with is fun, it has been so much more fulfilling for it to be my best friend, my gal pal, my sister. Through junior high, high school, and choosing to go to the same university together, we had the best friend part down.

From scheduling the same classes together, having lunch dates with one another in the union, and spending every tailgate together before going to the football game, she was there. I promise life is 100% more fun when you are doing things with them. She is the speed dial in my life, the very first person I call when I need something. I know that if it was not for her my life would be empty. Why? Because when you find someone that fits into your life perfectly, trust me you do not want to lose them or all the memories you have together. She is the Christina Yang to my Meredith Grey and if you have that person, hold on tight to them.

It did not take me long until I realized that no boy can ever love you as much as your "person" can. Boys come and go, but a best friend is forever. She picks me up when I am down. She never leaves me out. She knows when I am upset and she'll hold my hand and make me laugh until the situation is fixed. When I am struggling in life, in school, or in my faith, she reaches out and reminds me that I am perfect no matter what. I am far from perfect most of the time, but she never ever makes me feel that way. Sometimes, that is all we need in life: someone to believe in you.

So soulmate, thank you. From the bottom of my heart I thank you, for being you. I thank God for placing you in my life exactly when I needed you. You are beauty, grace, and a lover of everyone. You think you're lucky, but I know that I am blessed for you being in my life. I am a better person because of you. I step out of my comfort zone more because of you. I love people and things more fiercely because of you.

My advice to you all, find YOUR soul mate. Whether it is a boy or a girl, a soul mate is needed to get through life. I've got mine, and she is and will always be the best part of my life. If you have one, make sure you hang on tight, as they get you through this crazy thing we call life. To my soul mate, I love you.

Cover Image Credit:

Daryn Allen

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