Once upon a time, one always wondered about the choices never taken, the roads never followed. One would leave one's hometown or college or a relationship and perhaps seldom (if ever) hear about the people one had left behind: what they were doing, how they were doing, and how their lives had advanced. Certainly, one almost never had the sense of what would have happened if one had stayed in the town or the relationship.
But the InterWeb and Social Media has changed all that.
Suddenly, we can see our old friends and classmates and lovers from times past. And if we dig in a bit behind the "look where I vacationed pictures" or "this is my family", one begins to find what they have become and what they believe (for good and bad).
And all of a sudden, one can begin to understand the possible outcomes of the choices one did not make.
Decided to remain in a town or city instead of moving? Here is what the town became and here is what your old friends are like. Stopped dating that person? Here they are now, and here is what they believe (and probably what you would have believed, if you had stayed). The confrontations and issues they went through over the years would have become your issues as well.
All of a sudden with a little thought and imagination, you can pretty clearly see how you would be yourself.
I am not here to question whether those developments are good or bad, as we can only judge based on where we currently are (and some of those possible decisions lead off in very different directions). But we have a slow motion crystal ball, something that has never been available to generations past.
I wonder, are we using it effectively?