If you were given the opportunity for a “do-over” – that is, the chance to go back in time and make different decisions, different choices, and thereby change your life and the person you have become – would you accept it?
This is not an uncommon question – I’ve heard it discussed before, in person and in print, and at least one well-known movie was even based on the premise. And most of the people I run across, when confronted with this question, reply with an immediate and emphatic, “No.”
Me? I’m not so sure.
I have a bit of a tendency to wallow in regrets. In my less positive moments, this translates into a frustrated, “I wish I could go back and start all over again and do it right this time.”
So what would I do right, given the second chance?
- I would take better care of myself.
- I wouldn’t worry so much about what people thought of me.
- I would travel more.
- I wouldn’t be afraid to take chances.
- I would manage my money better.
- I would love myself more.
- I would get a degree.
- I would play the piano more.
- I would waste less time.
- I would listen to my heart first, and advice from others second.
- I would write more.
- I would share more.
- I would create more.
Of course, the idea of a “do-over” is nothing more than a fantasy, something on which to dwell when I’m feeling sorry for myself or am swamped with mid-life regrets. And dwelling in regrets is a non-productive, vicious circle that I work hard to overcome, because I have learned that the more time I waste on regrets today, the more I’ll be wishing down the road that I could have had that time back.
The past is what it is. But today’s thoughts, today’s actions, today’s choices – those are what will form and mold my life to come, those I have the power to affect, those are what will determine what I see when I look back from the future.
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
~ Maria Robinson
And that’s how I try to see it.
How about you? Would you want a do-over?
(Updated from original post in February, 2012.)