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The power of choice: "Manifest" & "If only" series

I just finished watching Manifest, which I highly recommend, given that this series kept it interesting for 4 seasons and gave me a lot of food for thought.

"Manifest" starts with what would seem like a normal day at the airport, but then in the face of an overbooked flight from Jamaica to NYC, the lives of the 180 + passengers are shaken as they reach NYC only to discover 5 years have gone by while they were flying.

I am trying hard not to give any spoilers since I really recommend you watch this series if you haven't. We could say that one of the main premises of this show is the power of choice, which I directly connected with the Spanish Netflix series "If only".

Poster from Spanish series "If Only"
Poster from Spanish series "If Only"

The romanticization of what could have been

"If only" is the story of Emma, a woman who after 10 years of marriage, realizes how unsatisfied she is with her personal life, and one night her wish to change the decision that brought her to this low point comes true.

There is a bit of science fiction in the plot, since thanks to an eclipse, Emma's wish to go back in time 10 years materializes.

"Uff! Imagine the possibility of getting a redo!" - was my first thought while watching the first episode of the series.

As somebody who has had some regrettable moments in the field of interpersonal relations, in the last 12 years, I did indeed wish for something like this more than twice. In retrospect, letting go of people who didn't align with my values quicker than I did, would be the main change I would make.

In other personal aspects, I would go back and risk more - professionally for example - and do more of what makes me happy.

However, any other path that I could have taken in my past, would have also generated its own consequences, which may be close to what I was looking for at the time or could have led to a multiplicity of unexpected scenarios that might be far from ideal.

There is a Mexican saying that goes: "Cuando no es para ti aunque te pongas, y cuando es para ti aunque te quites", which translates as: "When it is not for you even if you stand in front of it, it won't happen, and when it is for you even if you try to walk away you will get it".

So if you believe in destiny, in coincidences that are not, or in how we attract the people that we need to learn from...then even when going back in time and making different decisions, there is a high chance that some of the parts of the history would still repeat.

Poster of American series "Manifest".

Free will while wishing for the best

In "Manifest" the passengers of Montego Airlines flight 828 are welcomed by a reality that did not stop and wait for them while they were away for 5 years. Couples were torn apart, families divided, and the consequences of the passenger's absence and their actions before boarding that flight were a challenge that some did not survive.

The passengers were challenged by their new reality and faced a series of tests that required them to follow their gut and outweigh the good and the bad. Not only were they given the power of choice, to determine the best path to take with the least of information given, but they also seemed to have some other supernatural abilities, like an enhanced intuition.

So is life, most of the time we make decisions with a limited knowledge of what the outcome might be. We judge by feeling, from previous references, or advice from our loved ones maybe, but always those decisions are aligned with our beliefs and our moral compass.

In "If only" Emma has the chance to redo her romantic life and by doing so changes her whole life. It is funny -sad to watch that the outcome is not exactly as rosy as she would have expected.

For example, that other guy who she thought had a crush on her, turned out to just be nice to her in a friendly and aspirational way, with no romantic interest whatsoever on her.

Thinking about what could have been if I had taken a different path in my life is almost a recreative train of thought for me...Do any of the readers identify with this already?

In the end, it's just running different hypothetical scenarios, because the past cannot be changed, but also the "facts" that I might believe to know about people or situations, are likely not fully accurate.

As humans, we process life happenings through our interpretation. One thing is the actual facts that take place, and another thing is how we interpret them. What for some might be a blessing in disguise, for others is a curse. Life complications can also be interpreted as opportunities.

This is what makes both series special as we see their main characters interpret their realities to later be confronted with facts and wider perspectives.

In this exact context a fragment from The Cardigan's song "Starter" comes to mind, it says:

It's a delicate line

To the beginning of what's yet to come

Lifetimes of changes

A strange generation

Explanations never come in time

We live life, and if we are smart enough, we learn from its lessons and redirect our course when needed.

But if we are more apprehensive to allow life challenges to humble us down, the lessons might repeat again and again.

As much as I disliked this idea in my teenage years, experience does bring wisdom...if we are willing to receive it that is.

So if you are receptive enough, the explanations will actually come, as you make sense of your past decisions and experiences. I also like to think that if you are senstive, analitic yet deattached enough from people and situations, you can make sense of your present without waiting for the "Aha!" moments. Especially since Cal from Manifest warned us since the first season: "everything is connected".

Did you watch either of these series yet? What are your thoughts?

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Comments (5)

Felicidades!! Muy lindo todo , gracias!!!🥰🤗❤️👏


May 15

Muchas gracias!! Que bonito !!!😇🥰


May 15



Jul 27, 2023

I was in tears even before playing the video! Recently started watching Bluey and to be honest I am saviouring every episode, making sure not to rush through them. Luce as a kid would have love it too! Without all the sometimes extreme drama cartoons such as "Candy", "Peline" and the anime series called in Spanish "La Ranita Demetan" displayed. I also remember feeling sad and stressed after watching some of them...But Bluey is so not like that. I am sure this is appreciated by kids and parents equally. Cheers to all healthy, innocent and non invasive copying mechanisms! And thanks for sharing this one! 😍

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