The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Alternative Lives

There is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no basis for comparison. We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold. And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself? That is why life is always like a sketch. No, “sketch” is not quite a word, because a sketch is an outline of something, the groundwork for a picture, whereas the sketch that is our life is a sketch for nothing, an outline with no picture.” ~ Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

One of the hardest things in life is dealing with thoughts of the alternative lives we could have lived. Our consciousness naturally considers such possibilities, and all too often our lived lives don’t compare favorably with our imagined lives.  And that’s why we should resist thinking about those now non-lived lives—it only causes us pain. Still, it is hard not to imagine how our lives could have been, and how we might have chosen better. Yet, like Stoics we must move on, reject regret, and be thankful for what we have. For our lives can still be the sketch of a picture of our own choosing.

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