Is It Ever Too Late?

I love Depeche Mode. In particular I love their sad songs, and for me there is none sadder than Blasphemous Rumours, from 1984.

I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumours
But I think that God’s got a sick sense of humour
And when I die, I expect to find him laughing

If you listen to the whole song through, it’s a story of sadness, regret, irony and tragedy. A girl tries to girl herself, fails, and then finds redemption only to be hit by a car and killed.

Regret and tragedy have been on my mind as of late. Truth be told, they’re kind of always on my mind. Regret and tragedy are central themes in The Redemption of Erâth. Our ‘hero’ inadvertently kills someone he loved dearly, and spends the rest of the series trying to find redemption for his guilt.

They’re also central to my other work—the one I’ve been working on for over a decade. The one that is, in some ways, my own story.

I made a choice … that set me on an irreversible course to where I am today.

You see, like anyone in this world I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. Some were worse than others, but from each I’ve ultimately tried to make the most of it. I’ve tried to see the positive, turn it around, work with it, live with it, put it out of my mind … anything to convince myself that what happened was the way it was meant to be, and that there must be a reason for it.

I’m not particularly a believer of any kind of religion; I have no faith, and I don’t exactly subscribe to the notion of gods and immortal powers. But I do believe in fate. Call it what you will, but I believe that many of the things, if not all of them, that happen in our lives were predestined to play out the way they do. My job, in some ways, is merely to navigate the treacherous landscape of life, and try to stay alive as long as possible. Cheat death? Every day, my friend.

So when something good happens, like getting a new job, I like to think that some good went into that chain of events, though it was probably going to happen anyway. When something bad happens, like when Little Satis broke his leg skiing, I like to think that some good can come out of that chain of events, though it was probably going to happen anyway, too.

Some might see this world view as fatalistic, I suppose; after all, what’s the point in being alive if nothing you do—none of your choices—actually make any difference? Can it really be that every decision I’ve ever made was predetermined already, before I even thought of it?

And perhaps it is fatalistic. But it’s also, sometimes, the only way I can live with the choices I’ve made. The only way to avoid regret. Because you see, there are a lot of things in my life that I regret. A lot of poor choices. Many, many paths that I closed off.

And despite my outlook, the human side of my brain can’t help but wonder what if. What if I hadn’t taken Little Satis skiing that day? What if I hadn’t dropped out of high school for three months? What if I hadn’t met my wife? Where would I be in those cases?

The funny thing is—and this is where the good comes in—in many of these cases, I see myself dead. Never having survived the landscape of life up to this point. There were many years of my life where surviving each and every day was a bitter struggle, and if not for the people I’ve surrounded myself with, I wouldn’t have made it. But every once in a while, there’s a scenario that plays through my head, and I wonder what would have happened had I followed a different path, one day a long time ago in my youth.

I made a choice, one day when I was eighteen years old, that set me on an irreversible course to where I am today. I won’t say what that choice was, but those close to me can probably guess. That choice, in some ways, of course, led to my survival, and one can’t complain about the nature of one’s salvation. But had I chosen the other path … I wonder where I’d be today. Because while the rational side of my brain knows that the other path might have ended in disaster, there was also a chance—and tiny, slim chance—for a happy life.

And it kills me not to know. To have wondered for the rest of my life what could have been. To live in veiled doubt, guessing who I could have known, who I could have grown with. I’ve lived with my choice, every day since, and I can’t deny that it has brought many happy experiences. I can’t say for sure, given the chance, if I’d change a thing.

But a lingering voice in my head keeps asking … is it ever too late to correct a mistake?

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