It Might Have Been

“Of all the sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.’” Those words were written in the 1800s by John Greenleaf Whittier.

Those words form my mantra right now. I try to find a reason, my reason for being here, in this world. I can’t help it, in the same way that I can’t stop asking all these questions. Questions that I know remain unanswered most of the time. 

I also know that life however beautiful is a bitch too as the saying goes. It strikes you at the most unexpected times and in the most unimaginable ways. And no matter how shocked you are by grief or pain or sorrow you are left to wonder why. 

You are left to wonder what might have been. Or, could it have been different if you knew what was coming. But then nobody knows. We are given one life, that is if we are lucky, and in that life we have to figure out what is the best way for us to live and cope with the worst situations. 

When the civil war started in Lebanon in 1975, I was still in high school. Overnight everything changed for us, for me. All the dreams that I had for my future suddenly became sort of impossible for me to realize given the terrible situation in the country. I gave up most of them because survival became a priority.


I remember in those days how I wished that I was born somewhere else. Somewhere where there was no war. Somewhere where death and destruction were not part of everyday life. Somewhere like Europe or North America.

Years later I read ’The Joke’ By Milan Kundera. Of all his books this is my all time favorite and one I consider to be a masterpiece. It was only then that I realized that things might have been even worse for me. The sad truth is that in our wish for things to have been better we often forget to realize that they could have been worse. To quote Kundera:
“We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.” 


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