Hitting Life’s Reset Button
If you could go back and live your life all over again, would you? Most of us would probably answer – it depends.
Let’s say you could turn back the clock and relive your life with the benefit of all the knowledge you now possess. Given the inherent wonders of knowing what the future would bring, most of us would agree to a replay. Let’s say you could go back to 1969 and bet on the New York Jets or take full advantage of Microsoft’s 1986 IPO, you’d be very wealthy indeed.
Then there is the “Dead Zone” prospect of going back and purposefully changing the future. For instance, who among us would not feel compelled to try and alter the terrible course of events that occurred on September 11, 2001?
But what about going back in time and facing utter uncertainty? Would you choose to live your life over again and then be willing to accept the consequences if things were to turn out very differently?
No doubt, most of us would like to go back and relive the plateaus in our lives. I suspect that’s one reason why high school reunions and college fraternities — two things I’ve never attended nor understood — aren’t just popular but highly-anticipated rituals for so many people.
Perhaps another reason to hit the reset button would be the opportunity for retribution and forgiveness. Certainly, we would all like to go back and do a few things differently. That means righting the wrongs, avoiding pains we may have inflicted on others, and simply be better husbands, wives, children, parents, friends, and people.
Moreover, if we could limit those experiences to just the pleasantries, I expect that most of us would not only agree, but be eager to go back and relive blissful times. Who wouldn’t want to go back and enjoy those moments in our lives that gave us the most joy and satisfaction?
But what about the low points we’ve all experienced? What about reliving unpleasantness and reopening memories of pain, depression, and anxiety? Do you really want to go back and sit through fourth-grade math class again or suffer a redux of some grotesque personal humiliation? Would there be enough joy and satisfaction in your life to compensate for those low moments?
I expect one’s answer to this question could be predicated upon age. Those who are closer to the end than the beginning of life expectancy would hit the rewind button if given the option – for no other reason than the looming alternative ahead seems so frightening. Conversely, younger people would likely be less inclined to do things over again, particularly since difficult times largely take place during adolescence, a period of transition for all, as well as a time of confusion for many.
So, what about those trapped somewhere in the middle, about halfway through our lives (we hope)? Once again I ask — if you could go back and live your life over again and undergo the same sequence of experiences, would you?
This hypothetical mind game of contemplation exposes a great deal more than you may realize. More than likely, your answer reveals much about the life you’ve lived and the point you’ve now reached in life’s journey.
One can presume that everyone should hopefully answer the question in the affirmative. After all, if you’ve enjoyed a happy life, then why not go back and relive it again (and again and again), were that an option. Yet if your life has been filled with sorrow, then I expect contentment with the present combined with hope for a better future to be the favored alternative.
Since all of us have experienced joy and pain in our lives, then perhaps the more poignant question to ask should be — if you could go back and live the last year over again, would you? Perhaps it’s more salient to substitute “two years” or “five years” instead of “one.” It doesn’t really matter. The point is the same.
If you decide not to relive the last year or two of your life over again, then something is probably wrong. Something is very wrong, indeed. And, it’s up to you to change it.
Only you have the power to change your life and create your own happiness. Not your family. Not your friends. Not your co-workers. Only you.
If you chose not to relive your entire life over again, that’s one thing. But if you elect not to relive the most recent events of your life, which is far more indicative of your present degree of satisfaction and happiness, then you should be looking to make some serious changes in your life.
It’s never too late.