Tuesday, January 3, 2012

If You Could Hit the Reset Button

Bob Lowery, over at "Satisfying Retirement," has a most provocative post. What if you could do some parts of your life over? Would your choices be different the second time? Do you regret some of the decisions you made the first time around?

This particular exercise is only for those of us over fifty, because only then do we have the distance and experience to see the consequences of our earlier decisions.

Personally, I have often felt that I didn't so much make decisions as allow life to carry me along. I regret not taking charge a bit more.

But hey! Let's go way back. My first big regret is not paying closer attention to Tommy S. I took him to my 9th grade Sadie Hawkins Dance and he took me to the Sophomore prom. We were both losers who felt sorry for each other. Who knew he'd grow another foot and a half, clear up the acne, and start riding motorcycles in college?

I regret not working harder at writing science fiction--I've been in the same writer's workshop for thirty years. I've sold maybe twenty stories over that time while many of my fellow workshoppers have written books and some even make their living as writers. I keep thinking that I will write more NEXT year without realizing that NOW was the time.

I would love to go back and redo aspects of my parenting. I feel like my first two daughters had to grow up along with their mother. By child #5, I had a much better sense of what I was doing.

I wonder what my life might have been if I'd remained in New York City to practice my profession instead of returning to my hometown. I don't regret that choice so much as speculate about what might have been.

Then there's always the question of marriage. Would my life be more financially secure if I had married? Or would a divorce have cut even deeper into my finances? (Never mind that I cannot think of one person I've met with whom I'd really want to spend my life!)

Enough of my regrets.



Sharon said...

Well, now, it seems I fit into the *over 50* category..sigh.

Regrets? I have a few...

They start way back in high school too, I wish I had gotten my bachelors degree and gone on to lawschool like I wanted to...

My school counselors and sadly, my Mom, thought it would be better if I went to secretarial school and learned a *trade*. I've worked in lawfirms all my life..but now I've found that finance, and office management will suffice as I can still be a hands on parent too! I am however, encouraging my kids to be ANYTHING their hearts desire...so far I have two teachers, a possible Physical Therapist and a possible Engineer. Sadly counselors at school are still no help. :(.

Next regret? My first husband. Probably a HUGE mistake, but I have two wonderful daughters from that marriage so it's very hard to regret that.

Of course there's always the "I wish I knew then what I know now" regret...especially in finances...

But I'm 50 YOUNG, and although I doubt I'll become an attorney, I'm happy where I am with my family, friends and career.


Janette said...

:) Tim Burns. Skinny, short, too blond kid who asked me to the freshman dance. I went with someone else.
Became a buff ski instructor to work his way through medical school.....

Bob Lowry said...

Thanks so much for the link and mention of the post. While I noted three basic areas I could have done things differently, overall I am quite content with my life's choices. It is natural to wonder "what if" but only as an intellectual exercise.

Will this be the year you write that book bubbling around inside you, Grace?

The Borrower said...

This is the type of question that gets my brain racing. I know I'm only 42, but there are many things I would change and many I would not because they would alter too many things that I now cherish.

I would have gone to college while younger, even if only one class at a time. I would have been a better mom, not stressing so much, but enjoying each moment of books, hugs and laughs. I wish I could go back and redo this for my children. I would skip buying some of the things that drained my finances and select positions that allowed me to work and spend time with family instead of chasing cash.

Thanks for the dreams.

Grace. said...

Sharon--counselors haven't changed much. My parents were told that my cute cheerleader sister should go to the local community college because chances were she'd drop out and get married her freshman year. Not that the counselors were all that hot as prophets--she got a masters of international management, became an executive with JP Morgan (making SEVEN figures by the time she retired) and, oh, did get married, but she was 43 at that point.

Janette? Dang! If only we could see into the future! Tommy became a science teacher, but an incredibly hunky one who still wears black leather and rides a motorcycle.

And Borrower--I don't know any parent who doesn't yearn for a do-over. If only my kids could have had the advantage then of what I know now.

Super Saver said...

Instead of regretting choices in my past, I like to think about how those choices will help me do better in the future. As I like to say, good decisions come from good judgement. Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement. :-)

kelly said...

Hi Grace,

I have been reading your blog for some time now and want to say that your blog is really inspirational to me. Especially the part about how you went the adoption route because you wanted to be a mother. I really admire that as I am currently struggling with whether or not to have kids in the future.

As for the rest button I am only 30, but I agree with what Super Saver said. =)