For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with the idea that there are other universes out there. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I began to read about the actual science behind the “multiverse” theories in physics. The idea that the universe is so big that anything that can happen will happen (or has happened) continues to fascinate me until today, but it wasn’t until a couple of days ago that I understood why.
I was chatting with my wife over dinner, and we were talking about stuff in general. Somehow we got on the subject of daydreaming, and I told her that sometimes I daydream about the tiny little things in my life that have brought me to this moment in time. One of those “thought experiments” of mine is how I would have met and fallen in love with my wife had things been different. We come from very different backgrounds, and it’s a little bit of a miracle that I met her. Tweak one thing here or there and the whole thing never happens.
I have to admit that I give myself a headache sometimes from thinking about all those possibilities.
It’s kind of like this:
Anyway, when I told my wife about this, she said that I need to stop thinking about the past and live in the here and now, or think about the future. She’s right, of course. I gain nothing from diving so deep into the past that I almost give myself an aneurysm trying to think of all the possibilities and what I could do to still end up here.
But that’s the most important part of my daydreams about the possibilities. I want to end up here. I don’t want to end up with anyone else but my wife, and I don’t want to end up doing anything else but living this life. It’s not a perfect life, but it’s pretty darn good. Tweak something here or there, and…
Most of all, I think I like to think of all the possibilities because I like the idea of having second chances, of fixing those little things in the past that I somehow had a hand in breaking. I want to not hurt the people I’ve hurt, I guess. That’s my biggest reason for wanting to have a second or third go at things so long as those things don’t lead me to a place where I’m not the person who I am today.
After all, it’s the me here and now that wants that. A different me might not.
A few years ago, I wrote a short story about a person who was able to travel between realities and find the other versions of himself. His main goal was to find all the versions of him that did not end up with the love of his life and guide them through what they had to do to do so. One version of him who ended up with a horrible woman for a wife was the toughest one to “fix,” so to speak. The story ends with the protagonist in a very tough spot with one really, really messed up version of himself: a version of himself that is very rich and very happy.
All of those are daydreams and things that won’t be or can’t be. Sure, the theoretical physics say that there is a possibility of other versions of ourselves out there, but my wife is right. I have other things to worry about… And so do all the other versions of me out there. I hope one of them has gotten the DrPH thesis figured out ’cause I don’t.
If you really want to have your mind blown, check this explanation of “the multiverse”:
René F. Najera, DrPH
I'm a Doctor of Public Health, having studied at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All opinions are my own and in no way represent anyone else or any of the organizations for which I work.
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