If I Could Do It Over

If I just had a second chance I’d….

Why didn’t I do…..instead of what I did?

I had the chance to do….but I blew it! Why’d I make that decision? How can I change it?

Why do I always give in when I know I shouldn’t?

Why do I always second guess what I’ve done…and when I do, I know what I should’ve done instead. But now it’s too late.

We all say these things at one point or another in our life. Sometimes we say them, think them, many times. Over and over, in fact.

You’ve all heard the saying, “hindsight is 20-20”. And it sure is! Every time.

Every one of us at one time or another makes a wrong decision. We’re lucky if we only make one of two; most of us actually make wrong decisions almost every day. Whether it’s taking the wrong route to get to work, ordering the wrong lunch, or saying something out of place in a conversation, and immediately wishing you could snatch the words out of the air and put them back in your mouth. Or go through the floor.

Do-overs. Oh, what we’d give to have an opportunity for just one or two of them!

But then, just maybe, some of the most precious things, most precious people, in our lives wouldn’t be in our lives.

There’s the woman who’s in the middle of getting a divorce, and it’s not an easy one. Almost every day she says why did I ever marry that man?! And then  she looks at her three children and realizes, if she hadn’t married him, those children wouldn’t be here.

Or you take a wrong turn on your way to work which makes you late. You’re so mad at yourself…until you hear a news report about a fatal traffic accident on that same road that happened right after you turned off onto the wrong street. Do you still want a do-over?

Or for many years you’ve always regretted breaking up with that one guy you just knew was the love of your life. Because your parents and friends kept warning you about him. You took their advice, but you always wondered…until you discovered he’s now in prison for murdering his wife. The one he married a few years after you broke up.

Now these are extreme examples, of course. We all make decisions and choices on a daily basis. Some wrong; some right. Some we can change; some we can’t.

Life is not a movie in which we can re-shoot a scene if we don’t like it, or change a script to make the ending different. Because if it were, we’d never be satisfied. We’d always want to re-do something until we got it perfect. And in doing that, we could miss out on something precious. Someone precious.

I wanted to be an attorney when I graduated from college. But my first husband wanted to do that as well. And since we had already gotten married before graduation, I decided to wait. He applied to several law schools and didn’t get accepted. So I certainly didn’t try, because if I’d gotten accepted when he didn’t, well, that wouldn’t have been too good for the relationship. A few years later that marriage ended, and I figured by then it was too late to try, and my career path took a different turn. Had I ended up going to law school, I wouldn’t have been in the place I was, at just the right time to meet Ben, who’s been my husband now for 32+ years. And I wouldn’t have our daughter Ashley, or our precious granddaughter Rachel. I wouldn’t change that for anything. And funny how things go….my career in real estate has led me to be in charge of writing and interpreting leases…legal documents…and working closely with the attorneys who prepare some of them. My life may not have been what I thought it was going to be, but it certainly turned out just the way it should have.

Life isn’t always perfect. Our lives are the product of our choices, just like mine has been. All of our choices. Yes, we are affected by others’ choices as well, but how we react to those choices determines our life. Their decisions alone do not ultimately determine our life. We can live in the land of regret or we can live in the land of new beginnings.

And the sunrise of the future is so much brighter than the sunset behind us.

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