Parallel universes exist. Every time a decision is made, every possible consequence plays out in an infinite number of realities. (A premise not dissimilar to that of the nineties hit movie "Sliding Doors", although in my version the difference isn't solely denoted by alternate hair styles and Gwyneth Paltrow growing a backbone.)
Say, for example, a group of people decide to start a book club. They talk about doing it and convince themselves that they will. Then they each go home to their houses, flick the kettle on, consider a small slice of toast and promptly forget all about it. To them it will remain just that conversation in the pub where they discovered they'd all quite enjoyed "Wild Swans". Elsewhere, though, in the black swirling mass of the elastic fantastic universe, up pops a circle of wooden chairs containing those very same people, all looking a touch bored as they try to form opinions about that much-hyped-but-rather-disappointing novel "The Time Traveller's Wife". All possible consequences of acting upon that decision or not and in all possible ways, they all happen.
Of course every decision we make precipitates a series of consequences. I choose to believe that for every one of these decisions, every possible consequence immediately exists, like an infinite number of eyes all opening at once.
I sat on the night bus last night. I had been working all day in my temp job and had rushed straight out to one of my other jobs (event hosting at a West End show). I pressed my head against the cool glass of the bus as it sailed over one of the bridges, staring at the sweeping view across London and engaging in some anxious contemplation.
I have four jobs, even in spite of which I still struggle to pay my rent. I aspire to musical heights, but spend so much time working that I barely have time or energy to be as dedicated to it as I want to be. When I get home from work I switch on my computer and try to work on my songs. My mind wanders as I attempt to re-capture passion that bubbles during the day in response to the steel grey walls of my office job. Sometimes I get somewhere, sometimes not.
I approach my life in the way in which I am accustomed. I work because I need money. I sing because I love it, but I approach my creative endeavours without really pushing myself, without taking too many risks. I have ideas of how I should do things, but these ideas are simply the culmination of every decision I have ever made. I am conditioned to behave in a certain way because I continue to myopically fix upon the only type of decision I have ever made. I tell myself that I am making new decisions, but actually I am only seeing the options I have programmed myself to see, and then making the choice I have programmed myself to make.
I want to widen my vision and be able to understand all the possibilities. To stop feeling my way around the labyrinth and see it from a bird's eye perspective.
I know that I sound like a first year Philosophy student, waving around a pristine copy of Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason" and talking about how, like, maybe we all see colours totally differently, like, maybe what you see as blue I see as, like, red? You know? But I sat on the bus last night and imagined an infinite number of selves, walking an infinite number of routes through the labyrinth. Perhaps there is a braver me, who isn't scared of making phone calls. A more organised me, who understands money and doesn't feel the compulsion to claw her own face off whenever she accidentally glances in the direction of her bank statement.
A more brazen me, who demands rather than asks.
I wonder whether I can embody all those selves and become a better, braver version. I want to understand the pattern of my decision-making so that I can change it. I want to take risks, but first I want to be able to see all the available risks that are mine to take.
Perhaps I am wrong in saying that the infinite versions of the self are "out there". Perhaps they are, in fact, all playing out inside each of us at every single moment. Perhaps I need to just liberate the brazen version of myself and allow her to dominate, to demand, instead of sitting back while the more timid self asks, then fears the answer.
Or perhaps I should stop with the pop-philosophy and get back to writing amusing anecdotes about mice.