Sorry for two days of re-runs in a row, but this post from two years ago today is oe of my favorites, and I wanted to share it again.
Earlier in the year, I was leafing through The Book of Questions,and got to the one about what you would do differently if you could go back in time and 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 over the years — good, bad and ugly — that changing anything would only run the risk of ruining that ideal. Today, I’m less confident in that.
At the same time, the typical answers don’t appeal to me. One person’s answer was that they would have gone to grad school right after college. For someone else, their question was 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.
And, that, for me, is the heart of the issue — 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.
And my answer wouldn’t be any of those big picture things. I would take a very different approach.
I would listen to a bigger variety of radio stations. I would borrow more CDs. I would go to more concerts, and pop into more clubs 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 that girl 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 activities outdoors. 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 be more proud of the scars from fighting for losing causes that were worth both fighting for and losing.
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.
“There’s no point in worrying about what you could have done, make sure you’re doing what you can.” — Watt Washington
Filed under: Editorial | Tagged: choices, life, postaday2011 | 3 Comments »