Right Now in the Face of What Ifs

The Occupy protests are underway in the United States. Daily, I read news coverage of different occupations and their developments. I am inspired by the people who are currently dedicating their lives to raising awareness around issues of income inequality and corruption. A movement of this sort feels sorely overdue. While I sympathize specifically with the Occupy protestors, I am happy whenever real political and larger systems discussions take place. The level of participation and listening that is occurring within these groups is remarkable, and I hope it will provide an example for future communities and forums.

Yet, I am living in Germany while this all transpires.

A friend wrote to me that she visited the Occupy Albany site a few times. She wrote that if I was still in Albany, she knew I would be there. I think she is right. Often, I have ached to be participating in these actions. What if I was still in New York?

For every big decision a person makes, one is faced with a series of what ifs. The Occupy Movement is just another what if for me. While I can suppose that I would be participating, I do not know if that is true. Perhaps my job would have prevented active participation. Perhaps I would have had a bad experience at an encampment and left.

The truth is that this longing does not serve me very well and all I really have is right now. I can become hung up thinking about the what ifs, or I can celebrate that I took a risk and squashed a major what if that would exist if V and I didn’t come here: What if I never moved to Germany?

So, I hold the moment near, see all of the possibilities I do have, and try my best not to squander a thing.

In this particular case, I participate the best I can. I share stories and articles via social networking. I participate in conversations and debates with friends and family in the US, and new friends here in Germany. I consider my actions and choices and how they contribute to the very problems that OWS is highlighting.

This is very good training for the mountain of what ifs I will face over my lifetime. This is a practice in acceptance. This is a showcase of possibility. This is a celebration of now.

One thought on “Right Now in the Face of What Ifs

  1. Yeah, What Ifs pop through my head sometimes. What If I’d pursued theatre or history instead of engineering? What If I’d gone to grad school somewhere else? What If I’d stayed with my college girlfriend? Usually I don’t know the answer (though for most of them I think I’ve made the right choice). But there’s no sense in really fretting over it. Life is what it is right now, worrying about anything you can’t change is pointless. Look to the future, to what you can change.

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