The Many Parallels of Life
Author Matthew Turner discusses why he wrote his book Beyond Parallels and the power of the behind asking oneself the question: "What If?"
I've always been fascinated by the notion of What-If. My mind boggles at the thought that life could be so different had I chosen another route sometime deep in my past. People often discuss those grand decisions that stand before you - the choices that you know will alter your entire world - but what about the small, seemingly insignificant ones?
These tiny tales are what fascinate me. I can't help but think we could all live a billion lives, but are only given one. I'm not sure if you believe in fate or chance or if each day is a leap of faith - in fact I'm not sure what I believe, either - but our lives are defined by the choices we make.
It's this unsure nature that inspired me to write Beyond Parallel: a book that splits into two as a small, seemingly insignificant decision alters the lives of Bella and Clark. In one parallel they're a couple; in the other they never meet. Life as they know it changes all because of a decision that neither of them makes.
The Many Parallels Of Life
I often reflect on my world and think about particular times that have come and gone. I consider how I met that girl, or that friend, or that stranger who resulted in a new job, or new project, or new opportunity. Each chance meeting has a story behind it, and they often hinge on a yes or no.
Not everything rests on the decisions you make, either, indeed, our lives are held in place by the decisions of others. Where you had a yes or no, so did they.
Yesterday was full of them, as was the day before, and that one Tuesday last year, and that time when you were seven, and when your mother was seven, and when her grandmother was . . . and so on and so on.
It's enough to bring on insanity, and although I don't recommend clinging onto this idea too tight, considering what might have been is rather enjoyable. When I was nineteen-years-old I traveled around Australia for a year with the intention to get a job, move into a nice apartment, and live in Sydney for twelve-months.
That's not how life panned out
I had been in Coogie Bay, Sydney, for a few days when Richard moved into our dorm. He had spent the last few months travelling around Australia and Asia, and as he told me stories of his adventures, my plans changed in an instant. I'd come so many thousands of miles and wanted to stay in one city, one apartment, and keep one job. What a crazy notion!
No, I had to travel. I wouldn't be able to afford a full year, but I could do a few months. I would see the East Coast and meet new people and live a life I could never imagine living. In a mere 30 minutes, Richard had changed my plans indefinitely. Before meeting him I was looking for apartments and jobs, but afterward I was looking at coach tickets and the map to see what rested North.
How different could my life have been had I not met Richard?
What if I stayed in a different hostel?
What if Richard had?
Without his stories I may have stayed in Sydney longer, got a job, and moved into a house. I may have met a girl and began a life that linked me to that city for longer than a year. Heck, I could still be there now . . . with a new passport . . . a proper job and a life in the sun and surf.
So Many What-If's
There are, of course, many what-if's in that scenario. I may have met someone other than Richard who told the same stories and tempted me to travel regardless. Then again, I might not have done.
At this moment in time I'm about to become a father for the first time. Had I been living in Australia I would never have met his mother, which would mean no Little Man, who, as you can expect, is the most important thing in my life.
Had I stayed in Australia I wouldn't have worked in America, either, which meant I wouldn't have met the girl who inspired Beyond Parallel. I may never have found writing, and I would most certainly not be writing this article right now.
My life is a tapestry of what-if's, just like yours. My world isn't determined by only my decisions, but by the people I do and don't come across. I don't only dictate my life, but others, too.
When you look at life in this manner it becomes rather daunting
To Be Paranoid Or Not?
Such thoughts can easily drive you insane. Heck, I've driven myself crazy on more than a few occasions, especially when I was writing Beyond Parallel and forced to consider such thoughts.
No, you need to balance it out, because if all you do is think about the what-if, you'll never appreciate the right now, and if you don't appreciate life right now, well, you're hardly living a life at all. However, I also think it's important to take a step back every now and again and consider those what-might-have-been's.
How did you meet your partner?
What about your best friend?
How did you choose your career or city or home?
Life can change with so little effort, and the tiniest of alterations can result in a completely foreign world.
If you read this and think about your own What-If-Moments, I encourage you to get in touch. Add a comment below and let us know about a time where life changed in an instant - or potentially could have done.
Beyond Parallel is built on the notion of what-if, and I encourage you to let your mind wander and think about your own world. It will drive you insane, and it may freak you out a little, but it helps you appreciate what you have and what's around you, because face it, everything could easily be different.
Life is a blessing. The fact we're here is a miracle in itself, and the fact we're living the life we're living is a daily endeavor of thrusting the odds to one side. Will you join me in thinking about What-If?
I look forward to your stories.
About the Author: Matthew Turner is a storyteller, nomad, and coffee loving fiend. He sees life as one gigantic tale, and it's the role of the creator in which he has taken. Be it Fiction, Non-Fiction, or Day-to-Day Musings. Each new day brings a beginning, middle and end.
As a modern day writer, relationships are important. Don’t simply read and sit back, instead get involved. Ask questions, be part of the conversation, and connect with like-minded folks.
Where to Find the Author