The Subjunctive

My sister tipped me off to a recent TED talk called, Spoken and Unspoken. One particular segment stood out to me, as it dealt with the presence of the subjunctive tense in our English language. Phuc Tran asks, "Does the subjunctive have a dark side?" He discusses his experience immigrating with his family from Saigon as a young boy to America. From a language absent with woulda, coulda, and shouldas, to a language that has every theoretical outcome for any given situation, through the voice of the subjunctive.

A light went on when I listened to Tran speak. To live without the endless possibilities of what might have been sounds like a dream. And a very elusive one at that. I am ashamed to admit how often, I relive moments of the past. - If only I had said this, or done that. I try on multiple scenarios, weighing various degrees of positive or negative outcome. This creates a life in which, I am one of the most indecisive people I know, because of the process I put myself through after the decision is made. I believe most of it is a fear of regret, and a burning desire to create the best possible outcomes for myself and my family, but I am certain that it is exhausting.

Tran speaks of a resiliency that comes from living in the present, unencumbered by alternate realities. Funny enough, alternate realities can be a very happy place for me. I look forward to a time when some things in my life are different. Whether it be kicking this habit of regret-avoidance thinking, or becoming better at organizing seasonal clothing switch outs. And I will probably always wonder what would have happened if I ever called the owner of a well known footwear company after he gave me his business card, following some  of my most excellent service of a basket of chips and salsa. #MovingOn. But I want resiliency. I want to be unhindered by what could have been. I want my children to live contentedly with given circumstances.   I want us all to embrace situations with unwavering optimism. I am thankful for the parts my life that make this levelheadedness more attainable. Kids, incompleted knitting projects, and half-painted kitchens are just a few that come to mind.  So for now, here is to living a little more in the indicative. #itsabouttime.

Here's the talk.
Thanks, Melissa.

1 comment:

Melissa Martin said...

Bring on the indicative!