Pick Another Book

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Photo by Ivo Rainha

Every December, our book club members each choose one book that will be on our reading list for the following year. In 2021, my choice was Midnight Library by Matt Haig. The book followed a young lady who had decided to commit suicide and instead ends up in a library that is supposedly her between-lives world. The idea is that each book in the library is the story of her life if she had made a different choice in her real life. 

Truthfully, I liked the idea of the book better than the actual story but mostly because I just couldn’t warm up to the main character. The idea is so intriguing to me though because who hasn’t wondered in life what if I had just done this or not done this….so here’s the books that I think could have been available to me.

My Potential Book Shelf

Holly Joins the Coast Guard: Yep, I bet most of you didn’t realize that I almost joined the Coast Guard. I chickened out at the last minute when I thought to myself, what if you absolutely hate this and you’re stuck for 4 years. I wanted to jump out of the helicopters and rescue people, and I’ll have you know that I wanted to do this before the ultra-cool Ashton Kutcher/Kevin Costner movie, The Guardian, came out. 

Holly Finishes College: I did finish college, I just wish I had finished my degree earlier and maybe even stuck with my original plan of law enforcement. Life, however, sidetracked me a bit and I didn’t finish my degree until after Rick died and at that point I grabbed a “safe” degree.

Holly Finds a New Job: Definitely should have job-hopped a bit more. I tend to get comfortable in a position and stay though. Today’s world, for the most part, does not reward people for staying in one position/company anymore. Although I had a lot of flexibility in my schedule that allowed me to get to my kid’s activities when I needed to, I hurt myself financially because my pay stayed stagnant. I took the safe route.

Holly and Rick Bulk Up on Life Insurance: Life Insurance! I cannot stress enough the need for life insurance. The world is not set up for single parents. Our lives could have at least been easier financially if we’d had more life insurance when Rick died. Trying to figure out how you’re going to survive financially when you’re in the throes of gut-wrenching grief is not ideal.

Holly Does Not Buy the House in the Fancy Neighborhood: I definitely bought too much house my first go around. I was lured in by the fancy neighborhood after I was approved for my loan. The location wasn’t great for where our jobs and schools were. The lot was terrible; it was a huge, rocky, corner lot that could never grow grass properly. If I’d bought a smaller, more appropriate place I might have more equity now.

Would I Choose Another Book?

My life today is most definitely not what I thought it would be. It’s been so much harder than I imagined at 17. I don’t know that I’ve ever met anyone though who can say their life turned out exactly how they thought it would. 

If I had joined the Coast Guard, I would not have met my husband. We met 2 weeks after I was supposed to leave for boot camp. If I hadn’t met my husband, then I wouldn’t have my two wonderful sons. I truly believe that every little step we take plays an important role in our current lives, even if they seem like terrible steps. 

I certainly never expected to be widowed at 25. Life has certainly been a struggle at times, financially and emotionally. I would not choose another life though. Even considering the hard times, I love this life of mine. I had a true love, even if it was short-lived, and how many can say that? My boys are phenomenal, I have the best friends, I have family that has always supported me. My job fulfills me for the most part and I’m writing almost daily now, which is my true passion. Travel will hopefully become a bigger part of this 2nd chapter of my life as well. Guess I need to get busy finishing this best-selling novel of mine to help with the travel expense.

New Chapter or A Sequel?

So, I’m not going to choose another book. I’m going to get busy on my sequel though.

My boys are now grown and self-sufficient (well, mostly). I love that we are close (in distance and relationship), but they no longer need me. Now is the time that I can be more selfish. Hopefully, I can be more deliberate on what my next chapter in life looks like. Obviously, there’s still limitations, money primarily, but I’m determined to work on my bucket list. I have one in progress that I’m working on before I turn 50 in March but I need to get to work on a bigger life bucket list as well. 

What are some things you would change in life? Or if you’re like me and wouldn’t change the past, what do you want to do in the future?

Oh yeah, buy the extra life insurance though!! 

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