If I had my life to live over again, I would do it with 20/20 hindsight and correct every mistake. Naturally, this would result in the perfect version of me. My vision of my perfect self is ephemeral but glorious in her haziness.
I would’ve paid more attention in school to the courses I took pass/fail and by being more engaged with the subject matter and less with my statistics likely improved both my knowledge and my GPA. I would’ve apologized less and spoken out even louder and more often despite the negative effect this would’ve had on my mother who scowled often thanks to the omnipresent soapbox of my youth. I would’ve danced more – or maybe not, I did a lot of that. I would’ve listened more to what people didn’t say – and to my own inner voice. I hope I’d realize that I’m not a fraud but am in fact the truly kickass gal others promise me they see.
I wouldn’t have married my ex-husband.
But if I did it all of over again I wouldn’t be the me I am today. The one who sits comfortably even though it’s in too much skin. I might not twitch – but then I might not know how many people care that I do.
Instead, I’m going to look forward and work on being grateful for the years I have left. I won’t live them as if each day was my last – too much pressure – but instead will savor the small moments. I will relish the paragraphs I commit to paper, especially those few I actually like.
I will focus on the Souvenir Gift Item that my first marriage blessed me with — not the one I couldn’t save from himself even if I could go back in time. I am sorry that you no longer walk on this earth, Justin, I hope that you know I did try my best.
I will laugh at myself. I will laugh with others – at myself and at the absurdity that is this life. I will sing — poorly but with gusto – at stoplights, especially when my children are in the car. I will encourage other drivers to join me in this off-key affirmation of life. I will seek to connect and work to bring smiles to the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker. I will stop whatever I’m doing to dance to Brass Monkey with my youngest son for as long as he chooses me as his partner.
I will focus on the special cocoon that is my kitchen table every Friday. The blessing that it is to have people who want to hear my words and share theirs with me. I will be more grateful. I will say ‘thank you’ more often. I will remind myself of the blessing that all of my children are – even while obsessing over their shortcomings and my inadequate attempts to help remedy them. I will savor those who are here and those who love me in spirit only. I will savor my breath and celebrate its rhythmic beauty.
I wish you peace with the life you’ve lived and the mistakes you’ve made. Thank you for sharing the wisdom garnered from those regrets with me and the world. Thank you for being the you I enjoy today.
This piece was inspired by Erma Bombeck. Thank you. You’re still an inspiration.