Sex and the Chester: What If?

By Alyssa Velazquez
Elm Staff Writer

What did you do this summer? Would you change the way you spent a certain weekend? A day? An hour? The minute it took you to forget a close friends’ birthday? If you could take it all back or do it differently, would you?

What if, for a brief pocket in time, you lucky individuals who was given this prospect, would you take it? Or would you turn down stopwatch of fate and chose to live with the constant, combined weight of regret and wondering?

What if?

Two little words with one singular meaning, a semantically simplified version of the phrase: “should-a, could-a, would-a.” We are constantly being told to live in the moment and take every chance that comes our way. Inevitably, however, we are only human and forget from time to time to use our peripheral vision, causing us to miss those split seconds we will remember forever.

In relationships, we often tend to exemplify these moments which or individuals whom we have let pass by, never called, or didn’t even give a chance. We replay our fouled actions over and over again until our mental home-movies leave us, the sole critics, ourselves, publishing a review full of condemnations and contradictions.

Now if I was a writer for “Lifetime,” pre-teen novels, or even the next blockbuster romantic comedy staring Jennifer Aniston, I would say take every chance that is ever given to you, live your life with no regrets, and through trial and error you will find your romantic partner on your next trip to Starbucks, sitting across from you sipping a grande macchiato.

I, however, would never write for “Lifetime” and am not a fan of vampire-teen heartthrobs, so my message this week is much different than what is commonly expected.

In many cases, there are individuals I know who have taken every opportunity given to them and then ended up wanting to climb back into bed, wondering what portion of their sanity would have been salvaged if they hadn’t gone through with it.

As someone who over-analyzes beyond the recommended limit of self-incrimination, I know what it is to wonder in hindsight. I also know what it is to be without wondering and wishing you had.

Before I could conclude this article I decided to research the terms “what if” and “should-a, could-a, would-a.” Google responded with post after post from personal blogs on mid-life crises, dissatisfaction in current vocations, lost loves, and divorce-ridden households.

Besides these posts being extremely depressing, it made me rethink my Aniston romantic comedy storyline. Perhaps I was focusing on “what if” in the wrong perspective.
It’s easy to be judgmental of the past once it is in the past and it’s equally easy to be to passive in the present while in the moment. So what if we tried to combine these two tenses—the past and present—when it comes to making in-the-moment decisions on relationships and romantic partners?

By combining these two perspectives, maybe then we can take into consideration how that decision will not only affect us now, but also what we will think about that decision when we are older: a romantic comedy without the Starbucks.

As Sarah Dessen writes in her book “The Truth about Forever,” “Should-a, could-a,would-a. It’s so easy in the past tense.”

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