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If I Had To Do It All Again

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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 fifty or over eighty. 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 thirty or maybe even at twenty-nine, 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 twenty-four. I have been married since I was twenty-five. I owned a car at twenty-two. Moved out at twenty-two. 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 ten 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.

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