What would it be?
All of us have felt that way, many, many times, I’m sure.
I know I have. I sometimes even fantasize about that, and re-write in my head the way I wish a particular chapter had ended. Because the read ending was far, far too painful.
But life doesn’t work like that.
If it did, though, we think it would be so perfect. But the steps we take after those unhappy endings almost always lead to another story that does have a happy ending, although we don’t see it that way at the time.
Like the woman who finally escapes a disastrous marriage. She looks back and wonders what would have happened if she’d left earlier, or even better, if she’d never married the man. She imagines herself in a whole other scenario in which she’d have been happier.
Then she thinks about her three beautiful children who are the light of her life. The children she’d never have had if she hadn’t been married to the man she now wishes she’d never met.
Does she still want a do-over? Would she give up her children to start over?
He had wanted to marry his high school sweetheart desperately. He’d even bought the ring and was ready to propose on graduation night. He knew she was the only one for him.
But she said no and left town. “You’ll never amount to anything,” she said. “I want adventure, fame, and money. You can’t give that to me. You’ll never be anyone important.” He was devastated.
His only plans after high school involved her. He had no idea what to do with himself. So he decided to leave town as well, away from the memories of her. He joined the Navy, wanting to see the world. And to forget.
He rose in the ranks and became an officer, and was well respected by everyone. He finally met a woman he fell in love with and married. She was a huge support to him, and loved him unconditionally. They had two children, a comfortable home, and he had a challenging but rewarding career.
One day he got an announcement about his high school class reunion coming up. He’d never been to one, and really wanted to forget his high school days and the huge embarrassment when the love of his life turned him down.
Then the phone call came from their former class president asking him if he was coming. And if he’d give the keynote speech at the reunion dinner. “The whole town has followed your career. You’ve made a real name for yourself, and we want to honor you.”
Wow! His first thought was I can’t believe this. And his second…would SHE be there, and what would she think of him now? Would she rush to him, tell her how sorry she was for turning him down? Ask for another chance?
Did he actually want that? He was happily married with a great family, but he’d always wondered….
The weeks flew by. He wrote and rewrote his speech, wanting to make it just right. And secretly wondering how SHE would take it. Try as he would, he just couldn’t get her out of his mind.
When he and his wife arrived at the reunion dinner his old friends were all happy to see him, peppering him with all kinds of questions. His wife fit in beautifully with all of them.
But he kept looking around, wondering where his ex-girlfriend was, and really hoping she’d show up.
When he started his speech, he still hadn’t seen her and was actually disappointed. Once again, she’d turned her back on him.
Then he noticed a woman in the back. She looked much older than the others there. Had she been in their class? Or was she in the wrong gathering?
Then she came up to him. She congratulated him on his speech. He still wasn’t sure who she was. Then she said…”I guess I should have accepted your proposal. You’ve done so well. Me? Not at all. Four divorces. Two failed careers. You have it all. I have nothing.” And she walked away.
Who wants a do-over now? Certainly not the man who secretly wished things had been different on that graduation night.
What would you like to do over in your life?
And would you really want to do it over, knowing what you’d give up that you have now?
Maybe. Maybe not.