If I Could Turn Back Time


Earlier in the year, I was leafing through The Book of Questions with someone, and got to the one about what you would change if you could change something in your life.

For the longest time, I didn’t have an answer to that question. I was sufficiently content that where I was at that moment was the ideal culmination of everything I had walked — good, bad and ugly — over the years that changing anything would only run the risk of ruining that ideal. Today, I’m less confident in that.

But, at the same time, the typical answers don’t appeal to me. The other person’s answer that particular day was that she would have gone to grad school right after college. For someone else, the question is whether they still would have married the person they did, knowing how it turned out. I’ve always wondered, purely academically, what would have happened if I’d taken a particular job offer a decade and change ago.

That, for me, is the heart of the issue, though — I can only wonder. I don’t know. Even if I were given the opportunity to make the changes, I don’t know whether any of those would make my life better today. Would I be better off if I’d taken that job? If I’d majored in something else? If I’d made a different decision about marriage or buying a house? Maybe. Maybe not.

Last night, though, for the first time, I decided that if I had it all to do over again, I just might do it. Knowing, for the first time, what I would do differently.

I would listen to different radio stations. I would borrow more CDs. I would go to more concerts, and pop into more bars to hear more musicians I knew nothing about. I would have danced. Badly, of course, because I couldn’t do otherwise, but unselfconsciously. I would have danced with her at that wedding, many many years ago. I would have danced at mine.

I would have spent more time outside. I would have gone for more walks. I would have done more things outside. I would have taken better care of myself. I would have let myself be bad at outdoor activities, until I wasn’t as bad at them.

I would have talked to God more. I would have listened to God a lot more. I would have prayed properly a lot less. I would have taken church groups more seriously. I would have taken church services less seriously. I would have read more things about God I disagreed with passionately, to see if I knew why.

I would have read more books and watched more movies I thought were mindless mainstream pablum, to see if I was right. I would have learned what people liked about them. I would have learned what I didn’t.

I would have learned to identify more than one constellation. I would have appreciated that the heavens are a testament to the magnitude of the Father. I would have appreciated the same about the thunderstorms and the brilliant summer sky and the dreary fall day that seems utterly unappreciable. I would have spent more time in the rain. I would have danced in the rain.

I would have watched even less television.

I would have dared more for love. I would have risked more for attraction. I would have been rejected more. I would have been hurt more. I would have cried more, but I would have cried tears that were worth their price.

I would have smiled more. I would have laughed a whole heck of a lot more.

I would have paid more attention to which of my acquaintances were really my friends. I would have valued family a whole lot more. I would have talked to strangers. I would have accepted a lot more invitations.

I would have eaten foods that were utterly unappealing to me, at least once. I would have gone to a lot more restaurants instead of falling into patterns.

I would have bought more Apple stock, even when I couldn’t afford it.

I would have valued the random.

I would have been more open-minded. I would have had the courage of my convictions. I would have been less of a snob. I would have been more confident.

I would have tried to figure out who David Hitt was, instead of letting him be who the situation called for him to be. I would have been me, and I would have believed in me. I would have tried to figure out what it means to be the beloved handiwork of the author of the universe.

And, you know, I think if I had done those things, the little details — what should I study? where should I live? who should I marry? — would probably have taken care of themselves.

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” — Carl Bard

3 Responses

  1. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, so start now!! Great post 🙂

  2. One of the best things about self discovery is the chance to make a difference every day from now on. You have acknowledged the past, now let God have free reign of your future. He’s much better at it.

    You have come so far…

  3. You wrote this Sept 26th, 2009. I need to go back to that day and change everything that took place after that. I can change my life for the better. I would put all my money into Select Comfort then call my grandfather and his sister and I would tell her not to call the ambulance when there is smoke. Then I would ask for a morning shift at my job and I would start dancing in the evenings. On the weekends: Saturday dance, Sunday concerts. I would put every penny into SCSS until April 2010, then I would put it into Apple. In the spring I would go to Uruguay with George, then two the DR with the family. Then I would go to Hungary in 2010 May. I would invite George to come with me for two weeks in May. I would rent out Timi’s apartment and I would go to Rovinj to meet Joe then. I would stay home until October 30th studying in EURO language school and spending lots of time with my girlfriends and Joe. Then we go to Mexico for 2 weeks and Peru for 2 weeks and Argentina for two weeks. Then for Xmas we go to Florida. Then we call Agnes and John over for the stuff. Then in the Spring of 2011 we cross-country travel in South America with George. We go home for the summer of 2011 and I spend it in Rovinj, Balaton, all across Europe with my brother and my Mom. We come back and put the house up for sale and we travel in the USA until it is sold and we get the citizenship. In 2011 October I sell Apple and I buy HW. In 2012 summer we move home for good and Joe and I get married in 2012 summer. On January 14th, 2013 I sell HW and buy Netflix. I have kids in 2013 and 2014 and my Mom stays with us in a duplex in Buda someplace, which we buy in 2012 summer. We also buy a bunch of apartments in the spring of 2013 for rent after I sold HW, which I can do while I am home with the kids. That will be our income for life.

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