I saw a recent "Existential" post that was apparently about a spam that I missed, but that led me to ask this question. I realize it could be too personal, so feel free or not to share the more interesting or unusual thoughts you have.
My main thought is that I would change nothing, because I am who I am, where I am and what I am because of all the experiences, good and bad, that have happened to me over time -- and usually strengthened me as a person. Of course I would like it if all my joints weren't literally falling apart from no longer existent cartilage, but since my doctor has suggested that is genetic, I don't think I caused it.
In the moment, I've often thought I wouldn't have gotten married (I am since divorced x 2, long ago) since I never really wanted to be. I truly am a hermit, and have been since childhood. But when I thought of how NOT having done so would have changed my life in various ways, then I decided no, I'd go through it again, because if nothing else I had wonderful cats. Plus (maybe because I love time travel fiction and films), changing one thing might have changed everything.
What if women could have been sports writers in 1970? That still is a bit of a sore point, especially after the delicious win of the Pats over the Broncos last night. But then I wouldn't have read a great historical novel when I was 23 and decided to go to college and grad school to be a historian. And it is unlikely I ever would have traveled anywhere outside of the US significantly!
As a historian, I love 'what ifs' even if they don't mean much. They at least make us reflect upon our lives. I'd do it all over, with only a few miniscule tweaks that wouldn't change the final result.
What about all of you?
I would change - The Pâtés win over the Broncos the other night!! I would write lol, but no - groan. Groan. (And apparently my iPad thinks the Pates are french.)
Of course there are things I would change about my past, and even my present if I could. I have very few regrets, but there are some.
My dad is terminal and lives out of town. Time remaining is a big unknown. I work and therefore my time is limited. Why did I go to my sister's last week in Australia (other than I bought the ticket before I better understood his condition?) Maybe I should've spent that week with him? I'm punishing myself over it. Life can be complicated (and in this case, the particulars are; I've simplified the details here.) I think that most of the time, if we knew better, we'd simply do better. Mostly we do the best we can, whatever that may be.
well said. I suppose most of us would change a decision made somewhere along the line, but if we are making the best decision in the moment, well, that is good enough for me. I loathe Monday Morning Quarterbacks, and prefer to make split decisions and never look back. I feel for you where it comes to your situation with your father and wish you well in that regard.
I believe it is not the quantity spent with loved ones...it is the quality of time spent. pluto, I'm sure you have had some great times "being" with your father but being there beside him isn't all there is.Calling and just checking in is also good. Sending a card is another way to reassure him of your devotion to him. I am so thankful and blessed to have had my mom for 58 of her 95 years here on earth. I had to work and didn't get to see her much when she was nearing her time here. I know what you are saying about wishing you were there more. I remember wishing I had been with her more, gone to see her more. Then it came to me that while I was with her, we had so many wonderful times together just chatting or whatever the case may be. I didn't miss anything but her...and even that was just a selfishness on my part. I believe we are where we are at any given time for a greater purpose than we may ever know. I say use that time you have wisely and appreciate every moment...no regrets on what didn't happen but concentrate on what did and still can.
Great post and thoughts prof.
I bet your father enjoyed knowing you got to spend time with your sister in AU. And you can probably share some of your experiences with him, and maybe even some pictures. That would probably be a great gift to him instead.
Don't beat yourself up, but I'm sorry you're going through the torment right now.
As someone who appreciates at least a semblance of balance, I always like to interact with at least one of the good professor's, anadyr's, or pluto's thought provoking posts to help counter my wacky and/or sabre rattling joust (joyfully and in good faith) with Marriott.
First off, best wishes Pluto, I had a similar situation with my father, and to this day I am grateful for the advanced notice I was given to express my feelings while we were together.
I'm a lot like Shoeman and don't look back, because, for one reason (and there are several) to use a simplistic example like buying and selling stocks, there's no way to know the outcome of a change anyway (even tho it's easy to project favorably and so it takes discipline to avoid the Monday morning QB'ing that Shoeman describes).
Having said that, the one area that I might have wanted to change and therefore try to modify with current young adults I interact with, is to appreciate the maxim that youth is wasted on the young. Indoctrinated into a culture of 'walk it off' and 'suck it up', I physically pushed further than was medically sensible (and now pay the price). That culture, with the revelations of effects of concussions, is finally starting to change for the better (and btw, reading my posts, you may think I'm personally discussing helmets, no, for me it was knees). It is very hard to persuade a young superstar player that his or her scholarship, not only will still be around if they sit out a few games and repair, but that longer term they are better off, but I'm trying.
What a question!?!
I was about to close my session and go and deliberate on this one but then I though … why? I had a quick scan back over my life and my decision is … I agree with you … "nothing".
As you say prof, changing one thing may result in changes to others. OK, there are probably a number of small things that I would have avoided at the time but, in the scale of things, they are inconsequential. Life has been a wonderful learning experience and I think that we have gained from each lesson, regardless of how tough it was.
I look back to my early days with Ann Marie when we were starting our family … it was pretty challenging … neither of us had highly paid jobs or came from wealthy backgrounds. However, we worked hard, stayed honest and now have 3 great kids (youngest is 31, so not really kids anymore), 2 grandchildren and are reasonably comfortable financially. If we hadn't started poor, we would probably not have learned the value of hard work and money so well.
We are now both retired, enjoy travelling, have very different hobbies and seem to be able to put up with one another pretty well. I guess that we have been lucky. So, I'll stick with "nothing".
I've always gone with this philosophy - "regret the things you've done, not the things you wish you had done." We've all made mistakes, but often the worst ones turn out to be saying no when we should have said yes.
My biggest one was turning down a trip to Germany so I could keep my appointment with to get my first driver's license about 30 years ago (my mother was traveling on business and offered to take me with her). To this day, I still have not made to Germany, though I have been fortunate to travel extensively. I missed out on a great trip because I didn't want to wait another month or so to be able to drive. My mother still reminds me of that from time to time. The next time she made the same offer (two years later on a trip to Kenya), I jumped at the chance. Visited Japan, China, and Russia the same way.
We all have a few things we might want to change about the things we have done, but I would rather have those types of regrets. Passing on what could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience is the kind of regret none of us should have, but most of us probably do. Carpe Diem!
I would not change one moment of my current journey! Nope not one second of the hurts, the pains, the sadness, the disappointments; nope not one second! All the life's mess that have splashed on me, or that I walked into, has served to make the joys sweeter, the successes richer, the true loves deeper, the real friends dearer; leaving me in a place where I am at peace and looking forward to the rest of my journey.
I could not agree with you more. Every time I think I would have changed something, I think of all the things those changes would have changed the rest. Plus I have found that the sadness, illness, difficulties, etc. have made me a stronger and (I hope) better person. It would be great to be relieved of pain, but even so, I am not going to trade in what has so far been a pretty great life, seeing places I never imagined I would and doing a job that can inspire others.
And to finish what my iPad wouldn't let me in my last post, to quote a famous song, "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone..." I've long known what I have; though as is often the case, appreciation does not always realize its fullness until we are threatened with loss.
Very thought provoking post, profchiara. I don't really know if I would change anything within my control, perhaps some minor adjustments. As I look back on my life, however, there seem to be so many things out of my control that limited my life choices. Because of these events I really don't think I had much of a choice in the first place.
After losing our 19 year old son a few years ago we made some huge changes in our life. We looked at what was most important to us in life and decided that we wanted to spend more time with the ones we love. We bought a home and moved back to California to be closer to our family. We no longer purchase Christmas presents for our other 2 children but take them on a family vacation each year to create memories that last a lifetime! We pick a different place each year and give them a Christmas Card revealing the vacation for the year. It's amazing how much fun we have and spend quality time together. Which is my most favorite thing in life!!!
If I could do something over it would be to realize that every moment is a gift and would of spent more time with our wonderful son, Robert. Created even more wonderful memories together as a family. Given more hugs... and said I love you more often. Spent less time working and being so stressed out over stupid little things and most importantly made each day the best day ever.
Such a poignant post. And it also shows your wisdom and teaches some valuable lessons to your family.
I've seen and heard of others who forget they have any other children when one dies. Now that is a real tragedy.
You are an inspiration, traveldebbie.