Jessica Walters spent a big part of her life worrying about what if.
What if none of the other kids in my kindergarten class like me? What if no one asks me to prom? What if I don’t get a summer job to pay for college? What if I don’t get in to college? What if I don’t make one single friend while I’m away at school? What if I don’t find a job after graduation? What if I don’t get that promotion? What if my company is bought out or goes bankrupt? What if I’m laid off? What if I don’t get married? What if I my marriage ends in divorce? What if I can’t have children? What if the baby is born with something wrong? What if I’m not a good parent? What if my son hits his head while going down the water slide and drowns? What if my car goes off the road in the middle of a snowstorm and no one finds my body until spring? What if my investments tank? What if the government does away with Old Age Security? What if the dinner party is a flop? What if I say something stupid? What if the War on Terror ends up in my backyard? What if the big quake does finally happen? What if, what if, what if…?
She said those two words a lot, but failed to say the words, “Wow, I can’t believe how lucky I am!” She should have, because Jessica did get into university, she did marry a wonderful man, she did go on to have a fulfilling career, she was a good mother to her son, she did have a great circle of friends, she did enjoy accident free roadtrips, she did retire comfortably, she did throw fabulous dinner parties, and the War on Terror and those natural disasters she heard about on the news stayed far, far away from her end of the globe.
Jessica had had a fabulous life but didn’t realize it until she found herself facing what everyone eventually faces in their senior years: a serious illness.
“What a fool I’ve been,” Jessica said on her way home from her appointment with the specialist. “I spent all of those years waiting for the sky to fall when I should have been counting my blessings and enjoying the moment.”
It was then that Jessica replaced the words ‘What if?’ with ‘Thank you for another day’; for she had finally come to realize that there are far more good days to this thing we call life than there are bad ones, and she was going to celebrate however many of those she had left.