If I Could Have Just One, Make That Ten, Do-overs

If  I could just have one do-over, I would have let Scott kiss me and said, “Yes. I will go with you.” (“go with” as in date…well, as much as you can date when you’re in the 6th grade.)

If I could have nine more do-overs? I would have…

…gone to law school immediately after college. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

…found a way to live closer to my favorite place in the world. (Don’t laugh) Yes, that would be Disney World.

…stopped every stupid lesson plan that started going wrong and pushed my students harder instead of letting them (goof off) explore their creative impulses.  

…stood up to my mother more in my twenties when I was an adult and in charge of my life.

…pushed and pursued a singing career with a little more effort. Opportunities just fell into my lap and I took them all for granted.

…called my grandparents more often and begged to hear story after story after story and written every single one of them down afterwards.

…listened to my mid-wife when she told me that losing weight after a baby is difficult. Even more difficult when you’re having one at age forty. And then, I would have eaten less and better.

…been a heck of a lot more confident in high school. Because, really. How much of that crap matters now?

…waited until I was a little bit older and a little bit wiser to get married for the first time.

But I didn’t.

I said no to Scott, let’s just be friends. (even though I had a killer crush on him) I floundered after college. I stayed in the same place after college. I let my students run over me sometimes, not wanting to squash their creativity. I let my mother dictate my life until I was in my 40’s. I thought there would always be singing opportunities. I talked more about my life with my grandparents than I listened about theirs. I fed my cravings of ice cream and McDonald’s french fries when I was pregnant. I pretended I was confident in high school, but deep down I was pining to be the popular one. I married at the oh-so-wise age of 21 because, seriously, I knew everything there was to know about what was good for me.

But.

And it’s a big but.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

I have an amazing husband. Three fantastic, beautiful children. A career as a stay-at-home-mom – and who knew I would love it so much? I have a life with regrets and accomplishments and friends and scars. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

Because I like who I’ve become. And I wouldn’t be me without all my experiences.

So, if I could have ten do-overs? I wouldn’t do it.

Nope.

Because then, I wouldn’t be here.

26 Comments

Filed under Lessons Learned

26 responses to “If I Could Have Just One, Make That Ten, Do-overs

  1. It’s interesting, isn’t it, to reflect? And then to regret or embrace. It takes courage to embrace and, no matter what our present self tells us, those choices were all made for a really good reason. What a lovely, thought-provoking blog!
    Sunshine x

  2. Steven Harris

    Perfect conclusion. There are many more than ten do-overs I could contemplate but, as you say, I wouldn’tbe here if I did and I rather like here. 😀

  3. Oh, this is dangerous territory for me. I anguish over such small decisions, am so afraid of making mistakes…and yet, they’re so important. So I don’t want to think about my do-overs, mostly for what you point out. My decisions in my life have made me who I am. And I’m rather getting to like myself.

    (Oh, and thanks for that tidbit about losing weight after a baby. After my son, it was easy. After this girl? I am going crazy! And now winter is coming, so less exercise in the fresh air. I’m worried.)

  4. I like this line: “Because I like who I’ve become. And I wouldn’t be me without all my experiences.”

    I just posted a very similar kind of reflection – about not having regrets over what has already happened.
    http://gumballgirl.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/no-regrets/

  5. ck

    What an awesome post, Jane. It’s such a pivotal point in life to hit, isn’t it? When you can embrace everything you chose and did/didn’t do as part of what it took to make you exactly who you are today.

  6. This is why I am hesitant to talk about regrets. Mistakes that we have made often turn us into better people.

    Like you, I probably wouldn’t do over anything in my life. Well…except for when I’ve hurt people by things I’ve said. I would take that back.

  7. angelcel

    I completely agree. If you’re happy where you are right now (and I am) then there is no point in regrets and what ifs. All the decisions I’ve made in life, both good and bad, have brought me to this place.

  8. Both sides of the issue spot on. You can’t have both. I have lots of do-overs that I could mention, but then would I be here where I am? (Some days it’s not such a good thing, but I won’t go there right now.) It’s good that you’ve made peace with it. And I’m glad you didn’t use the R word (regret). That’s another loaded topic. 😉

  9. Beautiful insights today, Jane. I’m always amazed at how our collections of mistakes can lead us to just the right place. You’ve earned your exquisite life. And then some!

  10. Penny

    I sometimes feel this way to, that I wish I “would’ve” but then I realize that I am who I am today because of what I went through, just like you. Great post. 🙂

  11. Life is a learning process. I feel I have finally learned enough to be happy with myself and my life. I am certain there is more to be learned, and I look forward to it.

    Your post was so beautifully put.

  12. A life free of regret to me is a life not lived. Regret means you tried things, maybe followed your heart, and that though perhaps it didn’t work out, you learned a few lessons along the way. And isn’t that what matters?

  13. It’s a little difficult when you’re in one of those transition periods though. Right now it’s difficult, but I’m sure that down the line it will turn into one of those “thank goodness I stuck with it” moments.

  14. Great post, Jane! Not only did it give me so much insight into your life, but it also served as a great reminder of how our missteps pave our identities as much as our proudest moments.

  15. Amazing to think of how just one single change in your past would have you walking a different path now, huh?

    I think we all have “what if’s”….but it’s way better to live in the here and now 🙂

    Great post!

  16. Funny, I was thinking as I started to read this that I wouldn’t want to do anything over/differently…and there you go, getting to the same point. I’m glad. Though there are lots of things that I wonder about, the job offer in Charleston SC not taken, the leaving of the UP, not moving to Atlanta…I’ll never know how my life might have been different if I had followed any of those paths…but if I had, I wouldn’t have the place in life I do now…so…no do-overs for me either.

  17. wow, really appreciate your honest reflections here. and kudos to you for your serene conclusion at the end of it all… 🙂 inspiring!

  18. Beautiful piece. It makes me wonder if I would come to the same conclusions.

  19. Bravo Jane! Our experiences make us who we are. We have to take them, good, bad, and everything in between.

  20. Great post … I could not agree more. Our regrets and mistakes do make us who we are. If we did not have our current ones, we would surely have others and they would change who we are. The grass is not greener on the other side … it is just different.

  21. Very lovely post. Love your ending.

  22. Interesting post! There are many things I wish I had or hadn’t done. I don’t think I have the courage to say I wouldn’t change a thing — too many “would of, could of, should of’s” that I wonder about. And, yet, I’m here, and I’m happy.

  23. Your final line really puts things into perspective. I think we all have a list of “do overs”, but if we’re really happy with where we are now, then the “do overs” would change all that.

  24. You and I had similar blogs on the same day. There are no do-overs, and it’s probably a really good thing that there aren’t. We probably got it exactly right the first time.

    — Judson

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