A Parallel Life

I love Science Fiction.

So it’s no surprise that I love J.J. Abrams’ latest TV series “Fringe”. I’m particularly loving the second season. A recurring theme throughout this season so far (I’m only on episode 5 so far) is the idea of parallel universes.

What if, somewhere out there, there are parallel realities? The same cast of characters, the same earth, the same city we live in?

And in those realities are different versions of you. Same DNA, same physical characteristics, same mannerisms, same psychological makeup. Everything identical down to every strand of hair.

Everything the same — except an altered history. What if in those different universes are different versions of ourselves that represent the different paths and choices we made?

Pragmatic, practical, non-fatalistic people know that our lives are what we make of it. The people we eventually turn out to become is a result of the millions of choices we make on a daily basis. From  the biggest life-altering decisions we make that irrevocably change our lives…. to those decisions we make that seem so irrelevant and minute in the greater scheme of things. The simple choices like – Do I take the bus today, or take a cab? Do I wear black or brown today? — without realizing that it’s the little details that also lead up to a million other things.

Now… although “Fringe” doesn’t tackle the phenomenon through a philosophical discourse such as my post does now (of course the show must remain focused on its main plot), it does make one think of the possibilities, doesn’t it?

If there truly were parallel realities out there that represent the different choices we did not make in this lifetime, what would those lifelines look like? It’s not far from the quintessential, pervasive question we always ask ourselves at some point in our lives — the perennial “what if?

What if, for instance, I chose not to leave my parents’ home immediately after College? Then I would be a school teacher. I would be spending all my nights at home tending to my little brother; rather than exploring the world and meeting new people. Then I never would have met the set of good friends I have in my life now. Then I never would have met my husband. Then too I never would have discovered that I could make it in the world on my own. Then too wouldn’t I have realized that I was actually not a dumb kid who used to always just barely pass in school. That I could look my weaknesses and fears in life and start conquering them one by one.

The life I live now, the person I am today – is because of one decision that changed my life forever.

On the other hand, if I had chosen that other path, maybe I would be a little bit less stressed. I would probably have met and married a more established man. I probably wouldn’t be as focused on my career as I am now. I probably would have kids by now. I probably wouldn’t be a breadwinner for my family either.

Who knows? What’s sure though is that if there is a version of me out there who represents the choices I didn’t make, I’d like to meet that person just to find out what would’ve become of me if I had taken the other road.

And somewhere out there are a thousand other versions of me representing thousands of other choices I didn’t make. Maybe in another parallel galaxy, is someone who’s chosen almost the same path I’ve chosen except for a few minor alterations.

In some way, on bad days like today, it also brings small comfort to consider the possibility that there may be another version of me out there who may have it a little bit easier… less stressed… less problematic… less anxious about the future…

Just think about the possibilities for second. What if there were hundreds of other versions of you somewhere out there?

And if you could cross over to that other dimension and give up all that you are now… would you actually do it?

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