Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Do-Over


When I was eight or nine years old, I gazed at the blue sky through a high window in my bedroom and wished I could fly through that window and end up a couple of years in the past. I wished fervently that I could have done things differently, already knowing my future in a life that was so brief, yet seemed so long at the time.

I don't know what triggered such a need to be elsewhere, or elsewhen. Perhaps I was mad at my parents for uprooting me again. Maybe I lacked friends at the time. All I knew was that I wanted to try again, maybe to speak to that boy I liked, or to stand up for myself in a schoolyard altercation.

Now that I'm older and only slightly wiser, I look back at the vast expanse of years in my past, and realize I'm just past the halfway point of what I hope will be an optimistically distant future. Would I have done things differently if I knew where I was today? Whatever decisions I made in the past, I think I'd be as happy as I am today. Maybe not the same kind of happy, but still happy.

Would you have done things differently if given a do-over? Are we hard wired to be the people we are today, or does fate deal a different hand with each shuffle of the cards?

13 comments:

Barbara Martin said...

There are a few things I would change. For one, I should have followed advice my great aunt gave me about meditation, rather than wasting 30-odd years to find out it would have benefited me had I done so then.

Sandra, peoples' lives are not hard wired because every person has a choice and free will to decide on their next steps. Sometimes we have a tendency to stick with the tried and true, when, in reality, we ought to be out there doing something new and challenging to stretch that comfort zone.

Stephen Parrish said...

If I knew where I would end up today? You bet I would do things differently. The only useful purpose of addressing such a question is to decide what to do now. For example, if you regret not having learned a foreign language, learn a foreign language.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Yes, Barbara, taking advantage of the tools available to improve your life would make a big impact if done earlier.

Good point, Stephen. That's why I still want to be a full time writer when I grow up.

"The future's so rosy, I gotta wear shades."

Judith Leger said...

Only a few things. I wouldn't want to change the fact that I married my husband and had the boys. The main thing is that I would have finished college when I started it and started writing at a younger age.

Jenny Jill said...

Thought provoking question...

If I could do it again I would take more risks.

That would have included NOT getting married at age 19. I adore my 3 adult children, but I was afraid to take off into the world. I finished university married and pregnant and was afraid to get out there. I was afraid to leave my emotionally abusive husband. Afraid to be all that I could have been.

Travis Erwin said...

No do-overs for me. Sure I've made mistakes and have a few regrets but most of my life is great and I wouldn't want to risk losing any of it by doing things differently.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Wonderful stuff! I'm sure we all treasure the people we've brought into our lives, through birth or chance, even if they came from a bad relationship. If only we could keep the things that brought us happiness while filtering out the things that held us back.

writtenwyrdd said...

I'd love a do-over--but only if I could go in knowing what I know now. I mean, buy Microsoft and Google and Chevron stocks, right? And a few don't dos that I shouldn't have done.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Oh, yesss! The old "I shoulda bet on Secretariat" angle. Loves it!

ChrisEldin said...

I think about this question a lot. Too much, probably.
If I had the support of my parents when I was a teenager (long story about not a great relationship), I would've had the strength to do some things differently. Being on my own, my hand was somewhat forced.
It's not just about choice. It's also about options.

Great post, Sandra.

cindy said...

i'm regretful that i didn't write in my twenties--and that i didn't get an mfa in writing perhaps, instead of the more practical masters i got.

but no, i wouldn't change anything. i wouldn't have written the novel i have written if i had done it in my twenties. that, i know for certain. and i love this book.

yes. great post, sandra!!
happy weekend!

BernardL said...

I can't think of anything I'd change, except for the time I let my daughter talk me into letting her get 'Alf' the guinea pig. :)

Butch Boo said...

Nope wouldn't do anything differently I don't think. I kinda like the person that I am and I believe every timy intricate detail of my life that I have experienced thus far has helped me be me...

so in the words of Edit- Je n'ai regret rien (apologies for my poor Francais!)

BB