This past weekend I was in New York for a series of workshops. During an off night, my wife and I ducked into the city to catch Idina Menzel in her new musical, "IF/THEN." (The chance to hear her sing something other than Let It Go was something we just couldn’t pass up!)
"IF/THEN" tells the story of woman named Elizabeth (Menzel) who makes an unassuming choice in the park one day that alters her life forever. The play follows the different paths her life could have taken had only she made a different choice on that fateful day. The production was incredible in every way.
Afterwards, I was thinking of all of the seemingly innocuous choices I have made in my life and how they have led me to the pathway I am on today. Unlike the play, there is no way for me to know how my life might have played out had my choices been different. But it was interesting to think about and reflect upon what is, and what might have been.
The process was so interesting that I thought I would share it with you. Obviously, the questions are as infinite as the answers are, so I will keep them professional in nature. Want to play along? (That was a rhetorical question BTW). I will pose the IF, and you provide the THEN.
IF I had chosen a different instrument in elementary school, THEN...?
IF I had chosen not to be in music, THEN…?
IF I had gone to a different high school, THEN…?
IF I had gone to a different college, THEN…?
IF I had left or stayed at my previous job, THEN…?
IF my spouse/partner felt differently about my job, THEN…?
IF I had not become a teacher, THEN…?
IF I could no longer teach, THEN…?
IF I could make one different choice in my career, THEN…?
In the interest of candor and honesty, let me share the following. I lack psychic powers and I am not well read enough to wax philosophic. I am not trained in the science of psychology and frankly my gut instincts are almost always completely wrong. But, having met many music educators in my life, my belief is that the pathways created by and through music are richer and more rewarding than the paths not chosen. In other words, your IF/THEN is not as good as your HERE/NOW.
At least I know that it is true for me.