I have been thinking a lot lately about ghost lives-those unchosen paths that sometimes haunt us later when the life we are living gets harder or uncomfortable. Maybe it is because I just had a birthday and my life has turned out dramatically different then I imagined 1/2 a life ago.
What if I had stayed with him?
What if I had moved to Boulder or Heidelberg or Tuscany?
What if I traveled with my favorite band as a roadie for a year before starting my career?
Once we conjure up a ghost life (often as a distraction in the midst of whatever hard thing we’re dealing with), it haunts us. Making us ache for a thing that never was, allowing us to convince ourselves that it would have unfolded just the way we imagine it.
But that’s the thing about ghost lives. They happen in a vacuum. They can unfold only as we imagine them and we are too naïve/innocent/hopeful to put in the stuff of life-a cancer diagnosis here, addiction there, gripping depression, a financial curveball. Ghost lives, if we allow ourselves to go there, will always appear better than what we chose because we are rewriting the script, Hallmark movie style (and I should know because Hallmark movies are my jam). Ghost lives are not just in our rearview mirror. They are funhouse mirrors, a disproportionate tease away from our reality and our truth.
Have you had a ghost life haunting you lately? If so, I want you to acknowledge it that it has taken up residence and deliberately let it go. Because here is the thing-the life you have right now is the one you fought for, the one you saw value in choosing before life happened and life happening is completely normal, it is what is meant to teach us our most profound lessons. There is no need to look back and reimagine what might have been. Even if you don’t know your next step, even if you can’t see your progress at just this moment, even if it feels like your path is unclear, what is most meant for you is here right now, aching to be seen or realized as you chisel it to the surface.
You are doing just fine. You are right on time. There is a reason why you have made the choices you have made. There is a reason why life happened in this way. You may not yet know what is next but you should always know that you decide what to give, keep, change, manifest. You practiced such courage to get here, sweet friend. You do not deserve to be haunted.