Zig or Zag?

Left or right...up or out?

I am not usually wishy-washy.  Which is why it was strange that I found myself stopped at the exit of the bank drive-through today, paralyzed by indecision.

I wondered, “Should I turn left or right?”

Out of nowhere it struck me that this little choice could have far-flung consequences.  What if I turned left and was hit by a truck?  Or what if I turned right and ran somebody over?

What if I ended up being in the wrong place at the wrong time? 

You hear about people who are kept, either by accident or design, from boarding a plane that ends up going down in flames.  How they must shiver at what might have been, and marvel, probably for the rest of their lives, at their narrow escape. 

But that is rare.  We usually don’t get to know which of our choices might have saved our lives, or put us in harm’s way – how close we came to disaster, or to once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

How much of our lives is random chance?

If I had spent $1 on a lottery ticket the last time I was at the gas station, might I have been the lucky one to win millions?  Why have I NOT been hit by falling debris from a disintegrating satellite?

How do we choose when to zig instead of zag?

Deciding which way to turn is a minor decision, one of dozens – maybe hundreds? – I make every day.  It’s no big deal.  Perhaps the question of choices and randomness hit me more today because it is my birthday.  The fact that I am 52 years old has me a little adrift. 

All this ran through my head during the 20 seconds I was stopped at the exit of the bank drive-through.  It doesn’t sound like a long time, but in the busy pace of daily life, it is an eternity.  It was long enough for the woman behind me to become impatient.  She was, no doubt, eager to get on with the business of making her own random life choices.  A blast of her horn brought me back to the here and now. 

I took a deep breath and turned left. 

Was that the right decision?  I don’t know.  But I won’t mourn the turn not taken.  We have to choose our turns and drive on down that road, every day.

About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
This entry was posted in General Ramblings and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Zig or Zag?

  1. Jackie says:

    Happy Birthday Peg!!!!!!!!!!!

    I always wonder when I get a scratch-off ticket if buying juuuust one more would have made me a millionaire. Or if showing up at a certain audition would have gotten me a great gig. Or… well, you get the idea.

    Congratulations on another year of wisdom and laughter. I hope you have a lovely day.


  2. Ms. H says:

    It is so true that our lives are made up of innumerable choices, and that if just once, we had made a different one, we could be in a completely different place in our live. I blogged about this about a year ago (http://gumballgirl.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/no-regrets/). As you say, you can’t mourn the decisions you make or the “what-ifs” in life.

    Happy Birthday! I hope you have a wonderful day (and coming year)!


  3. misswhiplash says:

    Another Birthday ..another year wiser. HAPPY BIRTHDAY… Soon you will be like me, 72 and could not give a damn.
    Seems to me that life is made out of choices and as you say you need to make decisions. Now I leave the decisions to someone else. On the plane yesterday, the steward asked whay kind of tea I would like , mint or earl grey..You decide I said, and he did!
    Whilst in UK I bought a lottery ticket as my Tarot card reader told me that I would come into money between 10 -17 August. I sent my grandaughter to get the ticket so that I would not need to make a choice as to what numbers I have,
    If I win I will let you know…………….. If I don’t ..then there will be silence! That’s my choice


  4. Happy Birthday Peg!! Birthdays do have a tendency to make us think great philosophical thoughts! I’m ten years ahead of you… I’ll be 62 in November. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and I am led to decisions that are initially wise or unwise because that is the path I am to be on. The road not taken wasn’t my road to take. The biggest difference between 52 and 62 is that I too get honked at in front of the exit to the bank… difference is, I’m sitting in the car wondering if I left home to go to the bank or to the bakery for a sticky bun for breakfast!!
    Have a wonderful day full of guilty pleasures!!


  5. Happy birthday! You didn’t get hit by a truck. I say that means you made the right choice. Although, if you HAD been hit by a truck, maybe you could have met an amazing doctor and been inspired to write a screenplay about his amazingness, and then you’d be world-famous for having recovered from a death-defying accident and writing an award-winning, inspiring screenplay.


    Oh well. Left turn it was. 🙂


    • pegoleg says:

      That would have been good, but even better would be to emerge from the accident with some vague, unpainful injury that would allow me to sue the truck driver for everything he owns. Cuz I’m just that kind of gal.


  6. Seasweetie says:

    Your birthday??!! Happy happy day day!! Yes, I often think about that “What if I had..” or “What if I hadn’t…” It does absolutely nothing for me, except frustrate me. Birthdays tend to make us feel a bit (more) adrift, don’t they?


  7. I’m not sure who coined the phrase, but it seems appropriate to use it here: we need to give ourselves a break and stop “shoulding on ourselves!” Shoulda, woulda, coulda…it’s all a waste of time until we can invent time machines that can take us back to fix we things we THINK we did wrong. But I hear time travel is impossible–some Chinese scientists say so and who am I to argue?


  8. bigsheepcommunications says:

    Happy Happy Birthday! By all means, zig AND zag today and have a cupcake too : )


    • pegoleg says:

      Thanks Lisa! I zigged, I zagged, I had fat-free chocolate pudding with sugar-free Cool Whip instead of a cupcake. It was a day of freedom.


      • Tar-Buns says:

        So you finally had your yummy chocolate pudding with Cool Whip. Sorry I didn’t partake whilst at your home. Bet it was yummy, and you the current leader in the weight loss challenge, as far as I know.

        Two weeks the same age once again. 🙂 🙂
        Love ya!


        • pegoleg says:

          The problem with any pudding, and especially fat-free, is when you pour it and don’t cover it, it dries out like Dry Gultch in high summer. The top hardens and cracks and it gets worse every day.

          Since I made that on Thursday, you can imagine the experience when I finished the last bowl last night. LOTS of Cool Whip was required to try to reconstitute any chocolaty-goodness.


  9. Deborah the Closet Monster says:

    I was just going to click “Like” on this (although “Love” would be more appropriate) when I noticed the comments re: your birthday. I hope it’s a delight, and full of moments you would neither regret nor change even if you were thusly inclined.


  10. Big Al says:

    A local policeman spoke at one of my reserve meeting years ago on this very subject. He talked about safe driving in general and used an example of someone who hit and killed a pedestrian. That person spent the rest of their life wondering what if? What if I had left the house 5 minutes earlier? What if I had not stopped for a pack of cigarettes? What if I hadn’t chatted with an acquaintance I met in the store…….etc.

    One could go crazy thinking about all these things but we can’t help what thoughts pop into our heads sometimes.

    Oh, and happy birthday!


    • pegoleg says:

      We usually never know what fate we’ve narrowly avoided. Thinking about it too much will cause one to never leave the house!

      Oh, and thanks for the kind wishes!


  11. Tar-Buns says:

    Happy Birthday Again!!! Had a fabulous time at your abode last weekend. Glad I could provide a comfy bed after Aunt Carol’s party party. It was fun 🙂

    I spent time in Chicago with the two friends left I know. Great food, great views, great room on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Drove Lake Shore Drive, my old neighborhood, and Lincoln Park Zoo. Truly a wonderful trip for me. Had great fish, too!!! Yum….

    Wish I remembered the garden art you offered me… a cool piece. Next time in MI?


    • pegoleg says:

      Thanks for coming for a visit, and for providing a comfy crash pad in the burbs. You were great company! I’m glad you enjoyed your annual trek to the big city.

      Remind me to bring your treasured piece of rust next time I’m in-state.


  12. Whew! I made it in time to wish you a Happy Birthday and thank you for visiting my post. I have some hair raising zig-zag stories…thank you for the term…I’ll use it again when I retell one of them. But for now…it’s your day and I hope my visit makes your 50,000th visitor. 🙂


  13. missumerica says:

    Happy Birthday Peg!!! Love the post. It’s timely for me this summer. I’ve zigged & zagged but refused to just stand still and watch life go by. “You may be on the right track, but you’ll get run over if you just sit there” or HONKED at, huh? Hope this year brings you both adventure AND peace. 🙂


  14. Terrasidius says:

    Very nicely put! And (late) Happy Birthday blessing from me! 😀


  15. Sandy Sue says:

    There is a school of thought that says any choice we make turns out to be the right one. Once we choose, the Universe opens up in that direction, patterns reorganize, and all potential is available. How’s that for Birthday Woo-Woo?

    It’s fun to know that you were watching Love American Style and the Monkees at the same time I was.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s