The day before yesterday, at breakfast, Staffan said he was going to buy champagne. We have long since stopped celebrating published articles, book contracts, unexpected royalties and other work-related events; I was sure it wasn't my or his birthday or our anniversary, so I was a question mark. "Use your brain", he said. I did. Nothing happened. "Three years since I came to Cambridge", he said. It means today it is three years since I came to Cambridge. I am not sure whether it is an occasion for celebration or reflection.
The natural thing now would be to look back at these three years, but I won't. I can just read through this blog from the very beginning. This is exactly why I started blogging. I won't think about everything I left behind, because it is pointless. Instead, I am thinking about what my life might have been if we hadn't moved to Cambridge. And I am not talking about the serendipity of that dinner conversation in Barcelona, but about my conscious choice. I believe that human beings have a free will. But I also believe, at least a bit, in that parallel world in which I made a different choice.
What we had decided before I got the job here in Cambridge was that I would quit my job in Stockholm. So I assume that I would have done so. My idea for a living was to write textbooks. I have two textbooks on the market and get nice royalties, so if I could write a couple of textbooks every year we'd manage. I would also do workshops and advertise myself worldwide as guest lecturer. I would spend much more time in Finland and teach and supervise there. I wouldn't want to be without students. I would - as I actually do - teach online courses. I would continue on the ALMA jury. I would review books and do all those odd jobs a freelance academic can do. I could even do some translation.
I would possibly go to conferences, but I probably wouldn't be invited to many conferences without an academic affiliation. Or maybe I would. I had a solid reputation three years ago already. But I would have less time for academic writing if I were to write for my bread.
I would probably see my grandchildren a bit more often, but I am not sure. They are all very busy.
It would be very upsetting to think about everything I would have missed.