on sliding doors

do you ever wonder what might have happened if you had made difference decisions?  If one day you had chosen another path, or if life had not offered you the glimpse of what could be on offer?

I used to wonder that, in a very abstract way, the way you might chat after watching a film, or on reading a book, then sometimes I would think about how my life may have been.

This December, at the end of an absolutely dreadful year, my Advent has to reflect some of the positives, not only from this year, but from across the years, those sliding doors, and where they have taken, sometimes me, or my family or indeed others across the world.

I am going to think of it as a, ‘what happened next’ series of events, those when one decision impacted and changed everything in subtle and not so subtle ways.  I think it happens all the time.  We don’t actually ever just find ourselves in places, jobs, relationships, without us having had some input into the situation.  It is a rare person who glides through life, with little change, and for whom everything stays as it was.

This year the daily blog, counting down to Christmas, will hopefully be full of cheer and some humour too.  Together we can visit the consequences of walking through the sliding doors of life.

2020 the year that no one understands, will be ending soon, and in this last month I want to raise a smile where I can, and remind us all that we are in charge of what happens to us.  We all have chosen our own sliding doors.

So, a quick one to get us started.  I am in my late teens, and recently enrolled in college, having given up a ‘safe’ job to do something more interesting.  However I hadn’t quite grasped that the absence of boring work also led to the absence of a salary, so by the end of the first term I am cashless at Christmas.  I decide I need a holiday job, and apply successfully to be an usherette at the city centre cinema.  This job was quite the worse ever.  I had to wear a uniform, purple polyester blouse, complete with unattractive tie around the neck, and a boring skirt.  I had to check tickets, wait in the dark, watching the same films over and over again, and then the horror that was the ice cream sales, everything about this job was dreadful.

After the first week, and pay day, I was getting used to it. Watching pensioners shuffle it every lunchtime to sit in the warm for a while, together with the drunk people who needed to fill the time between the pubs closing at 3pm and reopening again at 5pm.  Evening brought the first daters, the old couples and the holidays brought the kids.  All of human life was there.  By New Years Eve, I had had enough.  Together with a fellow temp we led the audience in a conga line into the film, singing, and laughing, whether they liked it or not.  Those who moaned were told in no uncertain terms to shut up and join in, as they were boring enough to be in the cinema at New Year!!  We didn’t care as this was our last day.

So that choice, prompted by another, to leave a steady job, set in motion the rest of my life.  Literally.  If I hadn’t left the job, I wouldn’t have worked in the cinema, and I would never have met the boy with long dark hair, who chatted to me at the back of the auditorium.  Two weeks later I would meet him again, this time in a pub, and eventually he would become my husband and father to my boys, and almost forty years on, no longer my husband, but still one of my best friends.

Siding doors, he could have chosen a different film, I might have stayed in the safe job, we may never have met, and our gorgeous boys would not be in the world.


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