After all, you only live once.
A story about having choices and dealing with the consequences; creating new memories and letting others fade, and making sacrifices in pursuit of happiness
At one time or another, you’ve probably said or thought, “In hindsight, …” So, what happens when To have been, becomes something that can be changed?
In the not too distance future, Charley faces a hard choice: whether or not to follow her long since abandoned dreams. Journey with her on a quest, and you’ll be asking, “If I could change the past, would I?”
To be or to have been …
Charlotte Rhys Fenn leads a comfortable life with her best friend and perfect match, Michael. They share the guardianship of a couple of pets and a home in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She has a caring family as well as two amazing friends, Inez and Becks. To complete the cozy picture, she holds a secure position as the editor of a respected healthcare magazine. Her life is settled, as is her future.
However, if Charley could do it all over, knowing what she knows now, she would make different choices. Consequently, her life would be different. For twenty years and counting, she has felt like a wind-up robot, methodically following preprogrammed rules—step one … step two. And, despite persuading herself over and over that she is an essential cog amongst the inner-workings of a bigger machine, she often wonders if going through the motions of living is just the same as coasting purposefully toward death.
As ever, with time there is hope. By 2025, Charley’s existence need not be as boring or bleak as she believes. Emergent biotechnology could make it possible for her to create an alternate future for herself as well as allow her to relive the past of her dreams. Yet, her decision could destroy her current and well-earned lifestyle and distance her from the those she loves. Charley’s personal renovation might have a butterfly effect all around.
Because the time is right to reimagine the future and create another past.
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Teaser from Chapter 1
When Charley happened upon him thus, she crept to an open doorway or back to the top of the stairs, out of sight. Not covertly, just quietly enough to not disturb his reveries. For her, his pensive manner inspired bittersweet thoughts of solitude, lost love, and longing. These ideas confused her. They were the best of friends, she didn’t think she wanted anything to change between them. Life was predictable…comfortable. Besides they had earned it, hadn’t they? But every time, it was the same. Strangely, rather than actually feeling those would-be emotions, they were just disconnected words that popped to mind as she stood there—except solitude, she felt alone often. She wondered if he spied on her in the same way but doubted it.
Why lost love? We are together. And why longing? We have everything we need; we have each other. She trusted no one else in the world more. What perplexed her was Michael was perfect: intelligent, driven, and hard-working; attractive, kind, and even-tempered; and his sense of humor was just her type, dry and spontaneous. If that wasn’t enough he was the better cook. If there was a balance comparing the two of them, the scale would have tipped decidedly in his favor, every time.
Snippet from Chapter 2
Many of her ways were because she secretly longed for the slower paced days. Days when people took time to appreciate their actual surroundings, other people and life, like going for strolls or sipping a port or sherry over a philosophical conversation, instead of the occasional wine with dinner or a binge night out chatting about mundane details. She liked the idea of a habitual thing, not something you just did on occasion between scheduled happy hours and video conferences or amidst the chaos of group chats, social media and messaging, virtual or otherwise.
All the boxes that were part of today’s norm were tedious and as Becks called it, “soul sucking.” Charley agreed wholeheartedly and felt sometimes, she didn’t quite fit into the modern world even though she could navigate through it well enough.
Excerpt from Chapter 4
Dr. Baum surprised her and suddenly she was glad of his uncommon techniques; her general discomfort was forgotten. Inez was right, he was very good. He didn’t tell her what she wanted to hear, exactly, nor did he just sit around, passively listening, waiting for her to reveal some deep down mental issue. She hadn’t mentioned the painting was based on a dream, but he had made another of those almost psychic connections.
Keeping in mind his comment about depressing thoughts potentially becoming habitual, Charley offered the following and hoped it wasn’t self-deprecating. “I feel as if the things I want from life are out of my control, chances have passed and now I just have to deal with the result of the ill-informed or the ill-prepared-for choices I’ve made. I feel I’m not unhappy, I’m just not motivated or content with a good part of my life.
“Outside of work I spend a good deal more time ruminating about one thing or another. Thinking, thinking and doing nothing. If I am being completely honest, I admit I create projects for distraction, which seems to give me a mental break for a short time, until I come up with something else to do. It’s a little obvious, even my husband jokes about it. And I have problems falling asleep. My dreams are strange and I wake up unaware of my surroundings.”
“I see. Your mind is very active, but you are not.
“We’ll get to the details later. For now, tell me of a time when you felt in control of your life and your ability to make life-altering choices. You can start anywhere, a memory of a particular moment you revisit frequently.”