A recent blast from the past encounter via Face Book got me to thinking. Yes, I know, thinking is always dangerous when it’s MY mind but nonetheless the wheels began to turn and I thought,
“If I could do it all over again….knowing what I know now, would I do anything differently in my past to change the outcome of where I am in my life today?”
My first, most visceral reaction was a big fist-pumping…HELL YES!!! So many mistakes that created so much trouble, pain, suffering and general unhappiness. Who doesn’t have a mountain of baggage in their past they want to either forget, wished had never happened or permanently lose in some great unclaimed baggage area in Fate’s basement? Not many people are so deliriously happy with their life that they could honestly say No Thank You Very Much to a big freaking do-over. Or at the very least a nicer, lighter designer set of luggage. Right?!
So then with the mind-train picking up speed, I thought some more and came up with,
“But at what point in my past life would I want to take the fork in the road to another path?”
I could feel the engine getting ready to derail. Bits of thoughts, situations, good and bad, right and wrong, little and big, high and low…you get the picture…bombarded my brain. Which would I chose? How far back would I go?
First grade class:
Should I have not pretended I didn’t know the right answer to a question so as not to be called a smarty-pants (probably the equivalent to suck-up in today’s world) by other kids in the class who really didn’t know the answer but were much cooler than I was and therefore were the ones I desperately wanted approval from instead of my teacher? Could that have changed the achievements in my life that were to come?
Fourth grade class:
Should I have said no when asked by a girl I thought was my best friend if I liked a certain boy only to have her blurt it out at recess and making the boy so embarrassed he pushed me off a swing and told me in front of the whole playground nobody would ever like a giant, ugly, fat girl like me? Would saying no have made me less self-conscious about my height, my looks and extra weight for the rest of my life?
Eight grade class:
After introducing himself to the class room as the newest teacher in the school, should I not have been the joke-cracking girl who when he took questions from the room asked this new young teacher if he like to have teacher’s pets only to have him answer that he didn’t have a pet but that I did resemble a dog he once saw? Would my adult self-esteem have been different?
Little things. Seemingly insignificant.
Then, there are the big things. One of my biggest involved a car accident. Yet without it there is a real possibility I never would have left my home in Kentucky. Never studied Opera in New York City. Never debuted in Carnegie Hall. Never gone to live and perform concerts on stages in Europe. And my son, or at least my son as he is now, would never have been born. All because I got in a red Firebird convertible on one rainy morning in 1971 and ended up surviving a horrific accident.
Little things. Big things. They add up. They make up who we are and who we are to become from this point on.
So… and I’m still thinking here…. there is not one point in my past at which I would go back to and change any detail, even knowing what I now know. Even if by some miracle I could. I don’t want a changed past. The ripple effect could be devastating to the person I am now but I’d like to think I can learn from that past. I want to remember the younger me. The girl I was and everything that was fun and good about her and take her past even though it is irrevocably tempered with bad things … and just live a good future where ever it takes me.
The past is just that. I can’t forget it nor would I ever want to. The now is here.
I don’t want a do-over.
I want a do-now.