Sliding doors (HLD 351)

9 March 2021

Tim Minchin wrote a great song that I really like. Ok – he wrote a lot of songs I like, but the one I’m going to talk about is “If I didn’t have you”.

The basic premise of the song is that, while he really loves his wife and she is perfect for him, if he didn’t have her, well probably someone else would do.

“Your love is one in a million

You couldn’t buy it at any price

But of the 9 point 9 9 9 hundred thousand other possible loves

Statistically some of them would be equally nice”

He theorises that if he hadn’t just broken up with a girl and something else hadn’t happened, they wouldn’t have met. And even then, the possibility of meeting the one person ideally suited to him, in one tiny little corner of the world, was statistically very remote.

So let’s talk sliding doors. If you hadn’t met your current partner, would your life have changed dramatically?

I met my husband when we were 18 year olds. He was initially attracted to me by my writing, funnily enough. I was attracted to him because he was tall, good looking, funny, and he laughed at my jokes too. We had similar middle class upbringing, enjoyed similar things, and we haven’t looked back.

Being with him, his job has been instrumental in how our life has panned out. We have lived in different parts of the state, from the hot dry Pilbara region, to metropolitan and sub-metropolitan. We have been fortunate to live in other parts of the world, and travelled a lot.

We grew fat and comfortable together, had two children, have increased the family to include a daughter-in-law and two grandsons, and would quite comfortably confess to being each other’s best friend. (Please note that he is not, however, my best coffee friend. Husbands are not coffee buddies – for that you need girlfriends!).

But – if we hadn’t run into each other in the early 1980’s, how would my life, and his life, differed?

He’s a very intelligent man, so there’s a high likelihood he might have always gone into engineering, found some woman he could put up with, and maybe his life would have continued along much the same path.

But what if he had become a school teacher, which was apparently one of his first career thoughts? Would he have stayed in that profession? Would he have found a cute history teacher who made him laugh, and got fat and comfortable with her?

What if his parents hadn’t migrated from England to Australia when he was quite young? How would his life have panned out then? Would he have met a different love of his life in a small English village, instead of in Perth in Western Australia?

What would have happened to me if I hadn’t met this tall handsome Pommy immigrant? I was headed into nursing, and I imagine I might have stayed in that profession a bit longer than I did. In my life, caring for two small children was not easy to manage a nursing career while my husband did a lot of travelling away from home. Maybe I would have eventually moved into office administration anyway. Or maybe I would have gone to university and done some more study, maybe history or English.

Maybe I might have got a job as a history teacher, at a school where there was another teacher, who was a tall handsome ex-Pom.

If one door didn’t open to you, where do you think you might have ended up?

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