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What if everyone was given one “do-over” in life?  Just one decision you could go back and do differently based on your current knowledge of how it turned out.  It could be something really huge like not taking that ride with a drunk friend in high school or a marriage that didn’t last. Or it could be something small that would make your life better today in different ways.

The hard part is thinking beyond the real event and following the long thread of actions that were born of that decision.  If you hadn’t ridden in that car, would the other two teens have died anyway?  If yes, then how different would your life have been? If you were paralyzed in the crash, your life would be different but what would also be lost?  Were there lessons and people who would not have been part of the fabric of who you are today?

If you hadn’t married that person would your lessons of tolerance or self-preservation, the knowledge of just what does make you happy, have come from another source at some other point in history? Even if they are not part of your life today, aren’t there friendships and memories of adventures that would never have occurred?

“Maybe,” you think, “I would do-over losing that friend.”  Those don’t really require a do-over unless the friend is no longer living.  Reopening a door you shut hardly counts as a do-over, more of a do-again.  Of course, if that friend is not here, that would definitely qualify.  The more important question to ponder is what would you do differently this time around? If you can think about it without blame then perhaps, the lesson in losing that person was learned.

So to play the game of “do over” you have to think very hard about what holes in your life would occur if you had the chance at change.  Thinking of the far-reaching consequences helps put the action in perspective.  Would you do-over firing someone?  Maybe they managed to do better than they could have foreseen. Maybe you were the catalyst for them.

When I looked up “Do Over” blogs, they focused on very short-term complaints.   (or on crafts which was not the context I was seeking!) “I wish I could do-over this day.”  “Can we just get a Do-Over for the last week?”  I couldn’t find anyone who really had an issue with the larger decisions they made in life.

For me, the only thing I would change was the first time I picked up a cigarette. Would I have lost a chance with the boyfriend who smoked Marlboros incessantly had I not taken up the habit?  Probably not, and the butts ruled my life much longer than the relationship.

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8 comments on “Do-Over

  1. Maria says:

    This is easy. If I had to do anything over, I would simply not marry my husband. We were together for 23 years without being married; but it was the six years of marriage that cost me the most grief (and expense) in a long, drawn out, and very ugly divorce that went all the way to the court. If I had not made that one very bad decision I would have avoided months of emotional turmoil and would have kept the $60K he forced me to pay lawyers to defend what was rightfully mine from the greedy whore managing his side of the divorce.

    One bad decision has been very, very costly to me.

  2. Chris F says:

    I’m going to be the contrarian… I have often considered my choices and thought about a do-over. But everything you do touches every part of your life, the people you meet, the way you enjoy experiences in ways you might not consider. Every time I thought about a possible do-over I thought, “Ah but then I wouldn’t have done ___” or “met ________” or “decided to do _____ next”. In the end you just have to make peace with all your choices and try to live in the present moment.

    1. Agreed Chris. No do-overs just wisdom gained. Thanks!

  3. OK, Maria, that really DOES count as a do-over! Thanks for sharing.

  4. ccariello says:

    Our family has the chance for small “do-overs” throughout the day…if we start the morning off cranky, a conversation off wrong, we can begin again. Maybe these small do-overs save us from needing larger ones.

    Great piece!

    1. Thank you Carrie! In your hectic life, the small do-overs cancel out the need for considering a bigger one. Love reading about your adventures and your wonderful family.

  5. Touring NH says:

    Probably more than you or your followers need to know about me but I have 2 wonderful boys by two different fathers, I was once homeless for 6 months and lived under a bridge, my first husband was abusive and I could go on, but the thing is…I wouldn’t “do-over” any of it. Yes it sucked while I was living it, but EVERYTHING that has happened to me in my life makes me who I am today. It took a long time for me to like me. If I changed any one of those things…would I still be me? I am now happily entering my 11th year of marriage and I’m in a good place in my life…no do-overs! But I do agree with Carrie, not so much as small do-overs but minor adjustments:)

    1. Laura, thank you for sharing your story. I am with you, and Carrie and ChrisF., there are far-reaching consequences to the big decisions that we may not even realize. Minor do-overs are better in the long run!

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