CREATINSPIRATION//The "What If?" Question

Friday, January 22, 2016

About a year ago, my family and our family friends decided to hike the Hollywood sign. LA is about an hour away from where I live, so we packed up our cars and headed to the trails. Our dads left us halfway through the hike to go get the cars, thinking that the moms and the kids could find their ways back easily.

The moms didn’t (and still don’t) have any sense of direction, so we got lost and ended up hiking about eight miles--six miles more than we had originally anticipated. The entire ordeal ran several hours, and included running through a tunnel full of cars with no sidewalk (think: women and their children running through a concrete tunnel on a strip of concrete about a foot wide) and culminated in over ten of us squeezing into one minivan because my dad didn't make it through the roadblock.

Needless to say, it was an exciting experience.

After that, we decided to tackle it again, only the right way. We took the easy path up and the easy path down, nobody strayed from the group, and the dads stayed with us the entire time.

It was fairly boring. But we didn't hike eight miles.

This sort of thing got me thinking about the what-ifs. What would have happened we hadn't gotten lost the first time around? Would we have done the hike again and made it annual, like we did? What if we had taken a different trail? What if we had gone down instead of up, right instead of left?

It also got me thinking about another hike, one that happened several years ago but that I still recall. My family was hiking at a national park (Zion or Yosemite; I don't recall which one) and I, being typical Rachel, was going up as fast as I could. I'm a fast walker and it’s hard for me to focus on both the scenery AND the hike, so I kept on putting one foot in front of the other until I left the rest of my family in the dust.

I remember turning left at a sharp point on a section that had a steep incline. I'd only traveled ten feet before one of my brothers arrived, panting. My dad had ordered him to tell me that I had to stay with the rest of the family. Then my brother noticed something. “Rachel,” he said. “Look at that sign.”

Unbeknownst to me, I had, in my attempt to gain as much ground as possible, ignored the fact that there was a fork in the road, and that the path on which I had begun to embark was a hike that went on for seventeen miles.

What if my brother had not come when he had? What if I had gone on for a mile or two and gotten lost? What if I had died? What if I had utilized my Man VS Wild survival skills and become a woman of the woods? What if I had turned into an accidental Chris McCandless? What if I had been mourned as lost + then shown up with a beard and a taste for raw reindeer? What would I even look like with a beard?

“What if” makes things interesting.
“What if” makes you think.
“What if” makes you imagine.

Sit down (if you're reading standing up). Get comfy. Think of a time when an ordinary adventure (like a hike, or an outing for food, or a random library run) turned into something more than ordinary. Or, if you can remember an ordinary experience, ask yourself what could have happened. What if you had dropped your water bottle over the edge? What if your mom hadn't come?

What if?

Let me know in the comments what would have happened if you had _________________________.

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