Butterfly Wings and What Ifs?

By  3rd October 2016

Hello Everyone,

Shall we just ignore the fact that I have posted in 3 months – I have had an absolute nightmare with my laptop recently, and it’s still not quite right so I do apologise. However, I do have some plans up my sleeves and lots of ideas so hang on in there!


“If I had just…” “I should have just…” “What if I’d…” These are phrases that we all likely think many times a day – I know I do.

“If i had just gone to bed earlier, I would have done better in my test the next day.”

“I should have just left it and not commented on it. Then she wouldn’t be mad at me.”

“What if I’d just told him the truth – maybe she wouldn’t have minded.”

Of course, these are all little, trivial problems. But do you ever rethink major decisions you have made in your past and ask yourself if it could have turned out any different?

Life is filled with what ifs and maybes; with unanswered questions and regretted decisions. But, we can never really be sure that what we have done in the past, be it 10 years ago, last month or this morning, was what was best. Many people are scared by the future – I find the past often frightens me more. We have the chance to change our future, make it what we want. The past has happened, it can’t be changed and all the mistakes, decisions and choices we have made can never be rethought and that, that really gets me.I mean we all regret our lunch choices or hair cuts occasionally. But I’m talking about the big things. The life-changing decisions you have had to make in your past.  Some are fortunate enough to never have to make such important decisions, but for others, they are thrust upon them. In my 17 years, my family and I have been forced to make some pretty damn hard decisions. I think about these a lot.

I once read about a theory known as The Chaos Theory or The Butterfly Effect. I used to be obsessed with philosophy and crazy theories about life and I went through that typical 10 year old “what does it all mean?” stage. If I remember correctly, the theory suggests that one tiny occurrence can have a huge knock-on effect that could in turn lead to a catastrophic event. It states that everything in the world, past present and future, is connected. For example, a butterfly may flap its wings in one particular direction, as opposed to another, causing certain movements in atoms, (or some sort of sub-atomic, not visible to the eye, crazy sciencey force) that eventually changes a sequence of events, leading to an earth quake in Japan! Okay, so maybe not specifically Japan, but another part of the world. If the butterfly had chosen to fly in a different direction, or fly down instead of up, he sequence of events would have been different and the earthquake would have never happened.

I’m not really sure about the ins and outs of this theory and I doubt there is any scientific evidence to support it but it has always stuck with me. How many tiny, insignificant decisions have I made, that, unbeknown to me, have had huge effects on my future or who I am and the way I live today?

One life choice I think about often is the decision to go through with the major heart surgery I underwent 6 years ago. Of course, any operation, big or small comes with its risks. But, people have heart surgery all the time and come out unscathed, a majority of the time better than they were before. That’s what I had expected would happen for me too. I remember, clearly, being 10 years old and excited at the prospects of having a healthy heart and being able to run, walk and dance for as long as I pleased. But of course, as you know, that didn’t happen. That single decision my family and I made, to go ahead with the surgery has had a butterfly effect on my life and theirs. Every event in my life from now on will be determined by that one decision, one way or another.

What if I hadn’t had the surgery? If I’d just waited. I should have just waited. Or should I? Truth is, my original heart conditions would probably have killed be by now if I had. If not, I possibly could have been so sick by now that I couldn’t walk anyway. I know that my walking isn’t perfect now, but I can do it, better than many people. I should be grateful for that. And I know its been a long, hard road, but my surgery led to my heart transplant and yes that caused a whole host of problems. But at least I’m alive and well now. Right? The decisions that I have made in the past have allowed me to continue to achieve things that never would have been possible otherwise. My awards, my fundraising and most importantly, the writing of my blog!

We all ask ourselves “what if” everyday. But really we should have faith in choices we have made in the past and have confidence to make them in the future. I believe, and I’ve said it before, that everything happens for a reason.

Cecilia-Joy xx

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