Monday, July 20, 2009

If I Had To Do It All Again...

I recently read a novel where one of the main characters stated that if he had to do it all over again, he would do everything exactly the same.


I wonder how many people feel that way. I'm not just talking about older people, those past 50 or over 80. What about thirty somethings or forty somethings?

We learn so much in our teen years and twenties. So many important decisions are made that shape our future, for the good and bad. I believe that all of the decisions we make are important. Everything we do can impact our own life and the life of others whether we know them or they are strangers.


When I became 30 or maybe even at 29, an evolution took place within myself. I was no longer young but felt not quite old enough to be old. There's a great Barena.ked.ladies song,"Alternative Girlfriend" about this in-between- "Old at being young, young at being old." At that point in time I began to see the impact the decisions that I had made in the previous decade and how they formulated my position in life. It's funny how one's mind can open up to realizations that should have been apparent all along. I guess we choose subconsciously to notice things when we are ready. All of a sudden my house, job, car, marriage, pending motherhood, Coa.ch purse, and credit card debt became the life of an adult- my life. Keep in mind that I owned my first house at 24. I have been married since I was 25. I owned a car at 22. Moved out at 22. When I was in my early to mid twenties I was making strides towards becoming fully independent. However, my life's limited experiences coupled with insecurities and discovering my full potential made "adulthood" a title I was not quite ready for.

Infertility and battling depression made me grow up faster as I became privy to the immense disappointment and rough times that are simply a part of living. These experiences also made me vulnerable and in need of much emotional support. I trudged through the mud but fell off track many times and needed to be picked up. There are times when life becomes too much to bear, especially with the enormous amount of responsibility we must all take care of on a daily basis: pay bills, clean the house, go to work, return library books, keep our commitments.

The line in the novel about looking back on life made me think about any regrets I may have.
There are different kinds of regrets regarding decisions made in life. There are those decisions that you consciously make knowing there is a clear right and wrong decision. There are gray areas, and there are decisions we make with the best of intentions using the knowledge we have at that time. The decisions I am talking about include my choice of where to attend college, my major, my decision to move back home instead of NYC or DC, my first job, our infertility journey. With hindsight there are so many things I would do differently. Then again what I think now would have been a better decision would create a completely different life.
Every decision causes an entire new set of decisions to be made.

As of yet I can also state that I would not change anything. I have come to terms with disappointing and difficult times in my past because they ultimately brought me to this life and this person. I will continue to live my thinking about the impact of everything I do. One thing I do know will cause me angst as I get older is not talking more to my grandparents about growing up in the twenties and thirties. They have seen so much history. Both of my grandfathers have passed and my dad's mother has dementia that is worsening by the day. My Nana is still doing great (she turns 89 tomorrow), and we talk about many things. I want to learn and understand as much as I can before she is gone; but I know I will always want more. There is never enough time.

This is another realization of growing older. There is never enough time.

My best friend lost her mother a few months ago. She spoke to me of the last few days and "spending time." There were 10 hours together at one point, her mom sitting with her two kids and talking, visiting every day in the hospital fitting in moments- last moments. She said that it didn't matter how much time there was at the end. She still wanted more. She will always want more time.

What an impact her words had on me.

Regrets cannot change the past nor can they change the future. Learn from mistakes, forgive yourself, and live the best life you can live. It's the only one you get.

75 comments:

Caragh said...

This post is really touching.
There are so many things you learn in life, so many people you can look to for advice.
But you are right, it is never enough

blueviolet said...

As sad as I am to know all you've had to go through and struggle with, I can't imagine you being a different person than you are today and you could have been.

Kristin said...

Very powerful and touching.

Alison & Jason said...

SO very very true. I have also learned that despite all teh struggles, hardships, not-so-great times etc thru my life, I do not have any regrets either. Everything we have all been thru has shaped us into the people we are today and molded the lives we live today. And yes, there is NEVER enough time....so true!

Wendy said...

Regrets cannot change the past nor can they change the future. Learn from mistakes, forgive yourself, and live the best life you can live. It's the only one you get.

That's so powerful. Really hits home.

Clare said...

Tears pricking at my eyes as I read this. It is everything that I try to remember.. realizing that mistakes that bumps in the road are all part of this journey, all part of making me, ME.

Beautiful Mess said...

It's true, there is never enough time. Especially when you know it could be the last.

I agree, I wouldn't change anything. I know that every decision I've made, be it a good one or a bad one has brought me to where I am right now. That's not to bad.

Delenn said...

I am going through several transitions in my life and I have been thinking the same types of thoughts. Good to read your post.

Kathy B! said...

This is such a struggle, but what I take away from your writing is your strength. It truly is an example for us all.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

First time visitor. What a moving and touching post. As a 51 year old teacher, and mother of two teens, I hope to help young people realize the impact of the decisions they are making.

I have learned a lot from my own bad choices, but would not change a thing as that might alter having the people in my life that are here now.

Cassandra said...

Here from ICLW...

I can't say that there's nothing at all I would change if I had to do it again, but I would change very little.

There is definitely never enough time.

A day in the life of Stacey.... said...

Thank you for your post. As I read this tears are flowing down my face. I am touched because it is as if you spoke from my heart. Thank you for taking the time and touching so many of us.
Blessings!

Future Mama said...

It's all a part of the journey... I have to remember that! :)

Becca said...

Wow, that last paragraph about always wanting more time was my favorite. That really put it into perspective. Enjoyed the post, and have had fun roaming around your blog!

MrsM said...

Our pasts have brought us to our present-and no matter what, I wouldn't trade either my past or my present for anything.

And what you said in the end is true-time is more valuable than anything people could possess. It takes a lot of life experience to learn that, but once you do you have a better appreciation for life.

Tania @ Larger Family Life said...

Gosh, would I change anything? I've thought over and over and I don't think I planned my life the way it was already planned for me. The route I took, the decisions I made, they were all for a reason, whether they were good or bad. I just didn't see the end result then, just like I don't know what else is planned for me now.

JennyMac said...

It is all part of the journey. You have dealt with so much but its made you who you are.

Little Miss Baker said...

we have some similar past events. We wouldn't be who we are without our past but it's sometimes fun to think of what we would have done if we could go back...

GreedyGirl said...

Hi www.greedygirlsguide.com checking in from SITS

La Belle Mere UK said...

This post made me think of the movie sliding doors. If we did have our time again and were able to make different choices - who knows what the outcome of that would have been. If we changed the things we wanted to change who knows - it could have lead us into a really terrible situation or even ended up with us getting killed! So I say, Ce La Vie. Our lives are this way because they are supposed to be. For whatever reason!

Yaya said...

How did I not see this post before? It's amazing.

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

You make a very good point about how are current decisions affect our future. The important thing is to seek God's direction, submit to His will, trust in the Lord and let Him direct our paths. I firmly believe God does have a plan for everyone he created (Eph. 2:10, Prov. 3:5-6, Jeremiah 29:11-14, Ps. 139:17-18).

I also believe we should be more concerned with where we are going rather than where we've been.

(First time visitor from SITS)

Sandy Fights Fat and Blogs About Nothing said...

My husband and I have discussed this issue several times in our 17 years of marriage. Although we feel we married to young (22 years old), by saying we would have done things differently, it means we wouldn't have our two beautiful children or the love we share together now.

Your final words couldn't hold more true!

Congrats on being the SITS FB, you're blog is a delight to read. :-)

~ Sandy

Becky @ Our Sweet Peas said...

Hi from SITS! Your posts are beautiful, thanks for sharing.

BunnoGal said...

Stopping by from SITS.

I loved this post. Very touching and truthful.

glenna said...

Would I change some of the decisions I've made in the past? Oh yes, but I'm in a place where I appreciate the entire roller coaster ride.

Funny how you can look back on mistakes and bad times and find a little good which has come from it.
Goodness child....I sound OLD. LOL

Happy Sits day!

Julie @ Little One-of-a-Kind Design said...

funny the way it is. your glass always seems half full

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Very poignant. I am always wishing I had more time with my dad....

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

I strongly believe that everything I've gone through in my life has made me the person I am today - and I like who I am. Sometimes I do wish I could turn the clock back 20 years - but be exactly where I am today, with everything I have now, so I would have an extra 20 years to enjoy it. :)

Happy SITS Day!

Life of a Stepmama said...

This post really touched me. Every decision we make in life, big or small has an impact. I wouldn't change my life so far but I do look back and wish I would have made some better decisions. Either way those bad decisions made me who I am and I believe I am stronger because of that.
The older I get the faster time flies by; it never ceases to amaze me. Every day feels longer but the weeks fly by. I sometimes wish I could stop it all and just enjoy the moment but there is never enough time.

roadrunner201 said...

You got it exactly right. Those moments in the past, the bad with the good, make us who we are. I know that when you look at your sweet son, you wouldn't change your journey through infertility because then you would not have had the blessing of meeting him:-)

withoutadornment said...

Well said! I agree with you whole heartedly- what we go through, whether positive or negatives, shapes is into the person we are today!

Happy SITS day! :)

Helen McGinn said...

So true. Any changes I made may affect this life I am in now. It's not a perfect life but it's a good and sometimes great one. Regrets are so limiting, it's the here and now that's important.
Stopped by from SITS, happy SITS day and I shall be reading more! x

aforestfrolic said...

What a moving post...very touching! Thanks for the reminder.

Jamie :)

Bill and Lorie Shewbridge said...

Very thought provoking post... My immediate response was NO WAY!! But then, every bad thing that happened to me, also resulted in something wonderful... My marriage to an abusive man resulted in two absolutely beautiful, spectacular children. My assault 8 years ago, led to meeting some wonderful friends who have helped me get through the pain. And on and on like that... It is very introspective, thanks for making me think....

Stereos and Souffles said...

I would have done a lot of things different. But I'm sure I would have done the exact same things without the benefit of hindsight.

Date Girl said...

I completely agree with you. Every choice you would have made differently would have created a whole new life, new sets of choices. While I regret a lot of the things I've done in my past, I know had I not done them, I wouldn't be where I am today. Great post!

Are You There Mom? said...

I would love to change so many things but I would never touch it. I am who I am have my precious daughter because of the things that happened. Lovely post!

Ronnica said...

I'm 26, and am just now starting to realize I'm an adult. Ha ha.

Kim's Korner said...

I'm 38, and still find myself waiting to feel like a 'grown up' some days. My mom is a grown up, her friends are grown ups.

But then I see my 13 & 9yr old and remember ... Oh YEAH ... now I'M the grownup ;-)

And your friend is right. As someone who lost her dad a few years ago, you NEVER feel like you had ENOUGH time.

Great post!

Laura said...

I know I've made some mistakes over the years, but there's really only one thing I would go back & change.

Amy said...

How profound. That is something I have thought about a lot... if I could go back and change things. Honestly, I don't think I would because I have learned so much from my experiences. I may not like the decisions I made, but I am the person I am today because of them (if that makes any sense at all).

Stephanie said...

Very thoughtful. Thank you for sharing!

Mammatalk said...

So true, so very true!

Mama Daggett said...

Thanks for sharing

Ms. Mama said...

I would TOTALLY change things. So many things I would differently. BUT, then I would be a completely different person. And I am fine with that.

It isn't about having regrets, I did what I did, but it could have been different and different is good.

Sarah said...

Great post! Happy SITS day!

Brooke said...

my big mistakes were relationship related, and i would be afraid that changing them would prevent me from meeting my darling husband!

happy sits day

Eclipsed said...

This is a very insightful post. It's hard in hindsight to see how the decisions we failed to make would have changed the course of our lives. There are many things that I might have done differently, but I'm also very happy at the place I'm in right now.

Helene said...

You have such a beautiful way of expressing your thoughts. This post spoke to my heart! I, too, would never change a thing if I could go back...I think everything I've been through has made me a much stronger, more resilient person.

Joy said...

And there's certainly no use in fantasizing about being given the chance for a do-over.

Congrats on your SITS feature!

The818 said...

At 28, I feel as if you took the words right out of my mouth. Here's hoping I look back without regrets!

Michelle said...

I love that last line.

Lance and Jewls said...

What a touching post! I often think that we take things for granted too easily, there are so many things to soak up and enjoy as much as possible! Thanks for the reminder!

Allyson said...

So true, so true. Well said!

Stopping over from SITS :)

shortmama said...

I have made mistakes but I wouldnt change a single thing because it has made me who I am today. And every day after I will continue to become a better person

K said...

It's a beautiful post.

missy said...

another amazing post!!!!!!
love the quote at the end of the post.....very true.....good words to live by!!!!!!

Unknown Mami said...

You are a very thoughtful person and your writing even when dealing with difficult qualities has a soothing effect because you seem grounded.

Days of Whine & Noses said...

I've lost many people in my life and most recently last summer and still thinking about the what if's sometimes.

Stopping by from SITS

Stalker v1.5 said...

Well put!

Sassy Chica said...

Wow, that was fabulous!

Live,Laugh,LOVE!!!

Smooches,
Sassy Chica

Tater Tot Mom said...

I love this post. I have just been thinking so much about regrets this week. I just joined Facebook and reconnected with so many people from my past that it really makes you rethink all that happened.

I love the last few lines and totally agree. You have to let go and move on. Life is WAY too short!

Zeemaid said...

Another great post. As I get older, I worry about not having enough time. There's this strange feeling that by the time I get old they will have a cure for it. *l*

Happy SITS day.

greedygrace said...

I completely agree-- there is never enough time.

And I also believe the events of your past make you who you are today. If you like your life, there's no need to have any regrets.

Mama Kat said...

I definitely have regrets..but you're right, I've learned from them for sure and am hopefully a better person because of them.

The Dapper Darling said...

I constantly go back and forth with regrets. One day I wouldnt change a thing and the next day I think about the days I didnt push forward with my dreams, the days I let my Mom tell me what I should get my degree in, they day I didnt move to California because my family was worried. My husband always says, but if you had gone you wouldnt have met me and we wouldnt have our wonderful daughter, and he is right...so Im all smiles again :)

The Redhead Riter said...

A lot of wisdom in that posting. Live each day so that you don't have to feel guilty or regretful and you will have a fantastic life! So many problems today are based on selfishness....very sad.

My Household Junk said...

I know there are a few things I would do differently. So very wise!

Tonya said...

I loved your last paragraph!

http://luckygirlblogdesign.com

Jennifer Richins said...

I feel like you are writing what's in my head. It's strange how differently we view the world with a little experience behind us.

Katie said...

This is very touching. Great advice.

I'm sorry that I am a day late but I hope your SITS Day was great!

Anita said...

stopping by from SITS. I think many of us often wonder about that path not taken, and yet like you I know that any choices that I may have changed would not have led me to who and where I am today.
Very well written.

Jessica said...

Happy SITS!

Cindi @ Moomette's Magnificents said...

Visiting from SITS!

Our oldest daughter was born 9 years after we were married! Never thought it would happen!

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