After someone mentioning the movie, Sliding Doors, over Christmas, I decided to watch it again, for the first time in many years, because I remembered enjoying it when I was younger. The idea that when we make a decision – or miss a train – that there is another version of us that splits off into a parallel universe that exists alongside the one we’re in, is actually not a completely crazy concept.
In The Elphite, my main character, Ellie, lives her life over and over, making different decisions in each lifetime which means that her life takes different pathways, though ultimately, keeps ending up the same way. The concept of fate and destiny and whether our lives are already written is fascinating to me, and that’s why it’s a feature in my books and is the theme of many of my favourite movies (like Deja Vu).
Just for fun, I thought it would be interesting to explore what my life would been like if I had made a different decision at a certain point in my life. The decision I have picked was the one I made to quit my degree at Lampeter University. If I had stayed at Uni, then in the second year, I would have lived in Ohio, and studied in a college there for the year. Which to be truthful, was the main reason for choosing that degree, because I had always wanted to live in America.
Perhaps while living and studying in America, I would have made connections with people there, maybe met an American guy or just very good friends. After returning to Wales and completing my third year, I might have then moved back to the US, and through my contacts, and with my shiny new degree, got myself a job over there, doing… erm… something… writing for a magazine maybe?
After living in Ohio for a while, I’m pretty sure I would have then looked to move to either the east or west coast, after all, I’ve never been very keen on living too far inland, and after spending some time in New York previously, I think I would have probably headed there.
Would I have been successful in New York? I’m not sure, I can only speculate. I would hope that I would have still discovered Nanowrimo, and still gone on to write novels, but I can safely say that none of my current books (apart from Heaven dot com, which I wrote when I was 16) would have existed in this parallel universe. Because everything that inspired them happened after 2005, when I started out in Lampeter Uni. I’m Here might have ended up existing, as it was inspired by events that happened in my short time at Lampeter, but it may have had a completely different twist to the end.
It’s fun to imagine that there could be a parallel universe me, working for a magazine or in a publishing house in New York (which is entirely possible, as I have connections there that existed before 2004) but I am quite glad to be experiencing the reality I currently exist in.
If I had left Lampeter, but then actually completed the second degree I tried, in Derby University, then there could very well be a parallel universe me who is a fashion designer… now that, is a very scary concept!
What do you think your parallel universe selves are doing? Is there a big decision that you’ve made, and then wondered what would have happened if you’d chosen differently? It may not be the most productive use of your time, but it’s certainly a fun idea to explore. Perhaps it will inspire you to make changes, or just be grateful for your life and the way it turned out. Or perhaps you’ll just end up saying – Michelle is a complete nutter. However it works out, know that the reality you are experiencing is exactly the right one for you 🙂
Ok. That is a really cool concept! After I did my teaching course, I had apllied for a teaching post in Italy, and was waiting for a phone interview, which was going to be the following Tuesday. That weekend, I went out with my now husband. I decided to cancel Italy and all the dreams I had of working and living in another country. My dream countries were Italy and France, especially Paris. So because I was in love, all my ambitions changed.
If that had happened…hmmm…I’d have taught in Italy, and maybe travelled to Paris and taught there too. I’d have made loads of contacts and met different people. It’s funny, because it would have been a totally different life!
I did go to Paris the first year I was married and I went again in 2014. I’m yearning to go to Italy, too.
I don’t know if I’d have children by the same man, or maybe I’d meet him in a different way. The truth is, things are exactly as they should be, but it is interesting to see how our parallel selves would be living like.