Many years ago, as a young adult, in a large cafeteria setting with a group of middle aged people, someone at the table posed the question “If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be?
I listened as each person answered, wondering what should I say when it’s my turn. I honestly do not remember what people were saying they would change. I do remember some were tentative, “I think maybe I might change …”, while others were unable to narrow the answer to one choice, “There are so many, I might change … first, then …, etc.”. I felt like I knew what they expected me to say, and I didn’t want that to be my answer.
When the question came to the gentleman at the end of the table, his answer was short and affirmative, “Nothing! I would change nothing”. Our table fell silent, everyone was now looking at him. The person who first posed the question asked “Really? You are in a wheel chair, you would not go back and change the event that put you in that chair?” For me, the response was mind blowing. He simply stated that before his accident, he was a ‘mean drunk’, and had the accident not occurred, he would most likely still be that mean drunk. As a result of the accident, he had been forced to make life changing choices and at this age, he liked the person he saw in the mirror. WOW! Now I knew that my answer would also be nothing.
I was the youngest person at the table, with fewer possible answers (I thought). I was a teenage mom, 19 years old with 2 kids. I was sure everyone expected me to say that I would make a change that would allow me to be enjoying life as a college student, not struggling with the adult responsibilities of parenthood. I will admit, that those choices changed the trajectory of my life experience. But I believe, saying “I wish I hadn’t become pregnant as a teenager” was telling my children “You are a mistake, I don’t want you”, so that is a statement I have never made.
As I am reflecting on my past, it is not to find where I should have made different choices, but rather to find my way back to where I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Some future content to come:
- How powerful our words are!
- Do your actions match your words?
- What do I want to be when I grow up?
- How well did I learn the lessons I was taught?
- Becoming one with myself