Would you take a do-over in life?
By sharongreenthal on February 15, 2012
It's a seductive and provocative idea - a do-over in life. Remember when you were a kid, and you were playing hopscotch or kickball, and your turn just didn't go well? You'd call out "do-over," and just like that you would get a second chance. Imagine if you could do that in life - if you could go back and do-over some decision. Do-over words said. Do-over opportunities passed up. Would you?
I have always been captivated by the concept of time travel, and in essence that's what a do-over would be, if it could be done. Go back to the day, the week, the year that shouldn't have happened and make a different choice. But like the proverbial butterfly effect, it would change everything in your life - possibly for better, but who could say?
I had a brief and unhappy marriage for 13 months when I was 24. Of all the things I've done in my life, that would certainly be the one that I would like to do-over - or more accurately undo-over, because it never should have happened in the first place. We were terribly mismatched, not in love, and married only because we thought it was the logical thing to do, having dated off and on for a long time. It was a very, very bad period of my life.
But what if I had a do-over on this? Would I have followed the path that led me to my husband, my children, my life now? I don't know, and it's so beyond my comprehension that I don't know of a reasonable way to even think about it. I think that terrible first marriage was key to my finding a relationship that worked so well the next time around. I knew what I didn't want even more than what I did want.
Can we change the past? No we can't. A do-over doesn't exist, but we can change the way we think about the things that didn't work - instead of seeing them as mistakes, see them as experiences that helped us to grow. Instead of beating ourselves up for bad decisions, be grateful that things have turned out well anyway. Looking back and lamenting what was can only lead to sadness, regret and depression.
No one gets through life without saying "what a mistake that was." The best thing to do is try to never be in the position of saying "what a mistake I'm making."
Sharon Greenthal emptyhousefullmind.com