Time Out of Mind

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could offer ourselves advice before the storm hits? Provide some useful tips in advance of the cyclone preparing to sweep us up into its mayhem?

Would you consider the temptation a reckless move that could potentially alter the shape of everything else to come after that disaster?

This week’s question was inspired by the current box office hit LOOPER. Specifically, I asked:

If you could go back in time and talk to yourself at any point in your life, which YOU would you address and what would you tell him or her?

Okay, technically I didn’t ask you IF you would do it, but I assume if not, you’ll volunteer these reasons.

So what about it? If you had this unbelievable opportunity to educate yourself at a time when perhaps you were lacking all of the facts or experience to make an informed decision and could magically beam down to offer this background info, would you take it and if so, what would you tell yourself in that earlier time?

It is tempting. The idea that you could go back in time and take a completely pure, not-yet-jaded being – like this little rugrat – and save her from all of the evildoing-to-come and future baggage getting itself ready and waiting to hoist upon her shoulders.

Yeah, that’s me, discovering that the secret to getting my way was going to involve me somehow moving away from everybody else and traveling in my own direction and chop-chop!

For me, I’ve contemplated this thought before of sweeping in for a rescue to prevent painful experiences, in particular when it comes to my first marriage. What if I had NOT gone through with it? Certainly I could have enlightened that dumb girl (and yes, she was really still just a dumb girl) and saved her much heartache. But would it have meant not relocating to the Tampa area or staying here afterward? If so, I may have never met my husband now, and who could be sure that I would have landed in a world that allowed me to mix and match words for a living? It’s mind-blowing to consider the different trajectories our lives could take with just one different decision.

No, in that case, even though it would be very tempting to warn my 22-year-old self of what misery were to follow, I’d have to refrain. After all, these scars and lessons are a part of who I am today and I wouldn’t want to change that at the risk of missing out on other experiences, because the earlier pain may have made me braver, smarter and more willing to take the risk.

It would have been helpful, however, if I could have popped in on the 30-year-old professional marketing communications manager working in healthcare technology for years and told her, “Be patient – your opportunity to work in media will be coming along. Just hang in there!” I couldn’t see that then (why would I?) I was nowhere near the field or work environment I had imagined myself immersed in when I left college and yet six employers and 13 years after graduation, I found myself at a major metropolitan newspaper…finally. It might have been nice to give myself a little pep talk around spring 2001 when I was laid off for the first time in my life that there was hope in the not-so-distant future.

I certainly could have used some encouragement earlier in my life…like freshman year of high school, for instance. Particularly about the world of boys, a segment of the population with whom I enjoyed talking most and related to best yet in no way fully understood (not that this has changed all that much since, and that’s even after partially raising two stepsons in the past decade and a half). It might have been nice to visit the “Christine” in 9th grade who battled back and forth about choosing between a drama path or academic path (opting for the latter purely for scholarship reasons and certainly not because of the joy of it). I would have liked to give her a tight hug and let her know that everything really was going to be okay and that boys did like smart, funny girls — eventually. Unfortunately, it wasn’t going to be in high school but if she could just continue preoccupying herself with Duran Duran, Monty Python, old Marlon Brando films and Tennessee Williams plays until then, she would discover love and other spine-tingling sensations in adulthood.

I really like this quote I recently stumbled upon:
Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. — author Marge Piercy

Sometimes we dwell on what we could have done better or said differently, not realizing that we have already made our own tremendous impact — if we can just learn to own it as part of our history, who we are, what we did right (and maybe less right) and move on without looking back or second-guessing ourselves. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? I know. Not so much. But worth every ounce of truth serum and tears.

Still want to go back in time and offer some words of encouragement or advice? I’d love to hear from you.

And as always, thanks for reading.

Cheers to finding that daily spark in your life!
~Chris

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1 Comment

  1. […] Time Out of Mind (Oct. 21) […]


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