…the realization I could have lived different lives is only now becoming real to me. The one I chose (or that chose me, whether by fear or fate or circumstance), is only this I know. Even as I write this, I only now understand Frost: “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…”.
The question is, what would I have become in a different life, under different choices or different circumstances? I say that remembering the controlled chaos of family life as a boy and teen, how much I liked it and wanted the same. But no, I’ve grown instead into someone solitary who prefers, even needs, long silences. Obviously, the “me” I am today was always there, waiting. But reflecting, I don’t think he was the only one. Perhaps, as in the proverb about the two dogs, I grew into the one I fed.
But there were more “me’s” than just the one other. I know because, as I’ve grown older, I’ve begun to see their shadows. They drift just beyond my vision or consciousness, lamenting their own unrealized dreams.