This question made me list all the things I regret, everything I could have and should have done differently. I did not just recall events from the past year, but went back 10 years, 20 years and even farther.
I am one of those people who tend to remember everything, including every little stupid thing I have ever said or done. I am also the kind of person that enjoys making lists. After thorough consideration and deliberation, I came up with my most crucial, or what I like to call my If only’s.
If only I had joined the other kids playing in the sandbox in kindergarten when they asked me to, instead of shyly remaining stuck to my mother. Those kids had such friendly smiles, not to mention cool little sandbox toys.
If only I had come out when I knew I was gay at age 17 or 18, both to myself and to the world, instead of waiting until after college. Those supposedly best years of my life were wasted on keeping my distance from both guys and girls, and worst of all, on actual studying.
If only I had never taught my mother how to use the internet, and explained what chat rooms were all about. Then maybe she never would have divorced my father after 26 years of marriage and left him for another man she met online.
If only I would have taken the time to think before I spoke, or at least counted to 10. This applies to numerous occasions, too many to specify. I probably would be a lot less outspoken today, but I also would have pissed off and unnecessarily offended a lot less people along the way.
My first if only example, me as a 4-year-old on the playground, would be the ultimate do-over. I would go back in time 27 years and do over that first incident I can recall when I refrained from doing something I wanted to do because of shyness.
I would find out in kindergarten what it now took me until high school or even college to learn, that the world is not such a scary place, and simple human interaction will not kill you. In fact, sometimes it can be very enjoyable.
But you know what? Even though I’ve made mistakes, and there are things I could or should have done differently and things I would love to do over, the things I did wrong helped make me who I am today.
Going back in time to do over the things I don’t like about my life might ultimately result in changing not only my life, but also changing who I am. And the truth is I love who I am today, faults and all. So even if I had the power to go back and do it over, I would keep everything exactly the same.