There are two words I think a person should try to avoid while getting divorced: What if. What if I would didn’t give up? What if I’d given him/her one more chance? What if I’d never done blah blah blah? What if I would have given it six more months? What if would have handled things a little better? What if I’d have tried harder?
The words What if are toxic, in my opinion. They serve no purpose other than unwarranted self-punishment and the prevention of moving on. My dad always says that if you make a decision, you should stick to it and never look back and wonder. In other words, don’t ask yourself “What if.” I thought the blog post below by blogger, Stephanie March was a great piece on this subject.
The Land Of The What If’s By Stephanie March
There’s a place that all of us have travelled to at one point or another in our lives. Some of us visit more often than others. Some of us go there and stay a long time, often too long, and forget what life is like back home. These people are perma-vacationers and they set up residence and never book a return flight.
Others revisit on special occasions and lonely nights. These people are the regular tourists…. they visit, see the familiar sites, and then either eagerly or begrudgingly return to their normal lives. The regular tourists know that this place will always be there, waiting to accrue debt on overpriced souvenirs that you really don’t need and hangover inducing beverages that are bad for your health.
Yes, The Land Of The What If’s is a popular place that will never go out of style, but it will destroy a lot more than your wallet if you go there too often and stay too long.
I have met several perma-vacationers that live in The Land Of The What If’s. They go there after a tragedy of some sort, usually a breakup, and try to figure out what went wrong. For me it was both a tragedy and a breakup that drew me in. I left an abusive relationship that lasted for over a decade. So I naturally spent some time wondering, as we all tend to do: What if I had never left? What if I had done things differently? What if I had never met him?
But the perma-vacationer doesn’t just visit. They buy a house and make what is supposed to be a vacation destination their home. Hurricanes and tornadoes couldn’t drive them away. They simply board up their windows and stand there stubbornly in the doorway, arms crossed, telling you to stop warning them about the impending natural disaster.
Their homes could be demolished and the perma-vacationer will still not leave The Land Of The What If’s. To them this place meant for tourists is somewhere that has a grip on them similar to the strongest of addictions.
Any attempts to point out their unpaid bills, failing relationships, or missed years back in reality will be met with denial and contempt.
We can voice our concern for the perma-vacationers. We can love them, even though it is often very painful to do so. So far off the road, so far astray from what once was their normal lives, the perma-vacationer simply doesn’t know how to function without that camera in their hand and daily window shopping trips past the same places they’ve walked past for years.
They’ve forgotten that happiness can be found down the road if they would only leave The Land Of The What If’s and book a flight back home. This new home has become their costly field of dreams and they are mentally stuck in a place that no longer exists.
The Land Of The What If’s is alluring, I’ll admit. I’ve been there several times myself. The shiny promises of what could have been and the bittersweet taste of not knowing is enough to make you want to go back just one more time. The problem is, it’s never just one more time.
Each visit gets a little bit longer in length and, if you’re not careful, you can end up looking at real estate and admiring the views from what could be your new home. The real estate agents are the best in the business.
It will always be there, like Vegas, ready for the next person to come spend their retirement fund in one weekend.
So the next time you visit and a real estate agent hands you their card… rip it up, hand it back, and tell them they won’t be making any commission off of you in this lifetime. You have a better place to live, right here in the present.