Life is all about unknowns.

If I knew about my spinal tumor 10 years ago when it began growing would I have done anything differently? Nope. I still would have waited until it gave me trouble before pursuing surgery.

If I knew that the small business/three kids my husband and I started 30 years ago were going to be successful would I still have worried? Absolutely. If I hadn’t, I might not have worked so hard in those early years to launch it/them.

But also because I hold the world together with the mighty, mighty power of my worry.

I’m not a professional worrywort or anything, in that I tend not to worry about stuff over which I have no control. Meteors crashing into earth? My plane plummeting from the sky? Hordes of locusts? How my hair looks on any given day? None of the above. But if a kid doesn’t check in on time, or Nala the Wonder Dog starts limping, or my credit card looks compromised, you can bet my spidey senses start tingling.

When whatever I’m worried about turns out to be a non-event, my husband likes to point out that I needn’t have worried. To which I reply, “How do you know that my worry didn’t solve the crisis, huh?” Wait a beat. “That’s what I thought.”

Some logic is irrefutable.

Do I know how long I’ll live? Nope. Do I know if I’ll have grandkids? Nope. Do I know when the refrigerator will go kaput? Nope. Do I know if my next book will crack any bestseller list? Nope.

But I’ll know soon enough.

There is one thing, however, that I might have done differently, if only I’d known. I might have started writing sooner.

But who’s to say that I would have been in the right place back then? Maybe I would have been too stressed to do it justice. Maybe I wouldn’t have found my tribe to give me the support absolutely essential to success. Maybe I needed to have the life experiences behind me to have anything interesting to say. (And I’m making an assumption here.)  Maybe I would have been swayed by some enigmatic Svengali to give up writing to pursue a career in tap dancing or welding or Olympic-caliber dressage instead.

Life is all about unknowns.

That’s what makes it fun.

Is there anything in your life you would have done differently? Are you sure it would have been a better path?




Author: Becky Clark

I write mysteries with humor and spend my free time attempting to rid my clothing of dog hair. My new book FICTION CAN BE MURDER, the first in the Mystery Writer's series, was out April 2018.

10 thoughts on “Unknowns”

  1. What a great post, Becky! This made me think of the Newt Scamander quote: “My philosophy is worrying means you suffer twice.” Some things in life are out of our control, as hard as that might be for a worry wart like me to accept 😉


  2. Love that quote, Kate. But if you never worry, you never feel that sweet relief when everything turns out okay!

    And, Liz … I also like playing the What If game. What if I went to a different college and didn’t meet my hubs? What if I left home ten minutes earlier when that crash happened? What if we never had kids? What if I never quit my corporate job? What if we never moved back to CO? I find it endlessly fascinating to think of those paths not taken.


  3. All those what-ifs make interesting stories to write about another version of ourselves. It’s fun to explore them in fiction!


  4. I used to “worry what if” for events in my life, but I have made a specific effort to NOT think that way any longer — it is TOTALLY unproductive.

    I do wonder “what if” a lot however, but in a much different context. I love reading newspaper events or watching TV and wondering “what if ” that was not just an accident but a deliberate attack? What if that bystander was really a foreign agent? What if there were other people involved that we don’t know about? What if there was something MORE stolen from that car in the parking lot? The possibilities are just about endless and very entertaining.

    You get the picture — much more productive “what if” thinking.


  5. I always like to say if I’d known then what I know now, I would have been dangerous. Yes, there are a few things I would probably change. But then I wouldn’t be the person I am right now. And you’re right about the unknowns. Two years ago, I would never have imagined the life I have right at this moment. Life takes it’s turns with us.


  6. I think we don’t get to be of “a certain age” without having regrets. But, and this is important, I also believe we are in exactly the right place. Every decision we made, every turning point in our lives, led us to this moment. This place. This PERFECT time in our lives. Even if it sucks? Ultimately it’s perfect.

    On one hand, would I have like to have started writing sooner? You betcha. On the other, had I known everything that this profession involved would I have still made the decision to sit down and pound out a story? Prolly not. Not knowing the outcome is what makes us explore. Oh! I think I have my post topic.

    Thanks, Becky!


  7. I don’t think of “what ifs” as regrets, just curiosity about the many roads not taken. And I absolutely use them in my writing. What would the consequences be for everyone if my character did this instead of that? I, too, read the newspaper with an ulterior motive. I have a file of article clippings that leave me with more questions than answers … so I figure I may as well answer them myself!

    Jenni, I absolutely agree that if I knew then what I know now I’d be dangerous. But I can’t imagine how much less fun I’d have had in my youth if I didn’t get to make goofy mistakes! I guess it’s the same reason why it takes 9 months to grow a baby … we need that time to prepare menatally! ;-D


  8. Love it! I worry rather a lot, but I like to think I target my worrying appropriately. 🙂 I wish I had started writing sooner, and I wish DAILY that I could convince myself to prioritize me, but overall, I think I’m where I’m supposed to be right now.


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