If You Could Do It All Over Again, Would You?

What if you could do it all over again? Relive your past but this time as the person you are right now? Take everything you have learned over the years and apply it. Fix the mistakes. Right the wrongs. And make better choices this time.

It would be the ultimate do-over.

Would you do it?

Of course not! Your past is what made you into the person you are today, right? Without those scars you wouldn’t be who you are. There isn’t a single thing you would ever, ever, ever, ever want to change, right?


It’s just not an option. So in an effort to make yourself feel better about the fact that you feel helpless over the past, you try and convince yourself that you wouldn’t change a thing. That you love the person you have become. And that changing something in the past might create some bizarro Marty McFly scenario where you are no longer married to your spouse and the neighborhood you once grew up in is now a peanut farm.

The Truth Is…

Of course you would like to change something given the choice. We all have things we have done or said that we regret. Choices that we have made that we wish we could do differently given the chance. Some might be really small. Others might alter life as you now know it. But there is definitely something.

No one is 100% satisfied with every moment of their life. And just like the rest of us, you would jump at the opportunity to change it. The chance to set things right. To heal old wounds. Or take action so you no longer have to live in that resentment over something in your past.

And You Can. Right Now.

You can’t go back and change something that you said. But you can do something to make it right…right now.

You can’t go back and change a decision that you made. But you can change the path you are on regardless of your age…right now.

You can’t go back and change something bad that happened to you. But you can change the meaning that you gave it…right now.

Right now is the past that you are going to resent in the future.

Right now is the moment that you are going to someday wish you had made the tough decision.

Right now is your chance to fix tomorrow before it becomes yesterday.

Will you?

Featured image courtesy of DeLerkim licensed via Creative Commons.

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  • chrisb360

    Lol.. nice job, Marc. Actually, i think my answer would be ‘no’, I would do things much, much differently.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Why not start right now?

  • http://twitter.com/mightyrenegade themightyrenegade

    Good stuff again. I’ve been in regret-land plenty in my life. It’s a hollow place. It’s frustrating and can put you right on the path of ‘If I had only…’. And you’re so right. The only way to see it properly is to let each transgression, horror, trauma or mistake expand our compassion. Learn. Improve. Use regret to better shape our nows and tomorrows (and maybe someone else’s in the process).
    Thank you for this (and thanks for ‘The Power of Love’ by Huey Lewis playing in the back of my head).

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks Brian! Unfortunately I can’t take credit for “The Power of Love” being stuck in your head, but I can (and will) take credit for this being stuck in your head so get ready for it!

      We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll
      We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll
      Built this city, we built this city on rock and roll

  • http://www.drmichellemazur.com/ Michelle_Mazur

    One of my favorite movies is Eternal Sunshine on the Spotless Mind – which to me really drove home the fact that if I could do it all over again, I still make the same damn mistakes I made before. It is all about NOW. It’s the only thing we have control over. We can’t fix the past and can’t control the future.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      That was with Jim Carrey, right? I remember seeing it a long time ago but can’t quite put my finger on it. I’ll have to rent it again one of these days. I would probably see it so much different now than when I originally saw it.

      • http://www.drmichellemazur.com/ Michelle_Mazur

        Yes – Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. They break up and then erase the memories of each other. Such a good flick.

        • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

          That’s right…I remember that movie. It was all out of order and stuff so it didn’t quite make sense until the end, right?

          • http://www.drmichellemazur.com/ Michelle_Mazur

            Yes! That is exactly right. I love movies that keep you guessing like that!

  • Marie Rotter

    I like the point you made about feeling helpless about the past. I think we can all look back on choices we made and, given our current perspective, think of ways we could have done it better. The should of, could of, would ofs are what will drive you absolutely crazy.

    I had a pretty horrific childhood and it took me a long time to realize that being mad about it now is only hurting me. I couldn’t change the past, but as an adult, I can choose to make my own future. I am responsible for the choices I make now. Things don’t just “happen” to us. We choose the path we take.

    What I’ve learned by coming to terms with my past has given me confidence for my future. I have more confidence in my ability to run my own business because being scared is something I’m used to, and this can’t be any worse than what I’ve already experienced. We are all stronger and smarter than we give ourselves credit for.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Hi Marie! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Wow. What I’ve learned about past experience is to separate the difference between what happened to you and the story you created because of what happened to you. What happened to you might have been awful…but it usually pales in comparison to what you created for yourself because of it…the years you spend beating yourself up over it…what it does to your self-esteen and self worth…and how all of that effects your future decisions.

      You are very brave to acknowledge whatever it was that happened and move forward. I honor you for that! Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/Lyndawithy LyndawithaY

    I can’t help thinking of the “Back to the Future” movies. Every time he went to change the past, to right a wrong, something fundamental about the life he knew changed (like his brother was never born or whatever). It’s a clever way of saying that you can never go back. And even if you could, why would you want to? (I’m talking to you, Awkward Teen Years…)

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Oh brother…you should have seen my awkward teen years. Nothing like a guy with curly hair trying to look like Jon Bon Jovi. It ain’t pretty.

  • Steve VanHove

    Touched a nerve.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Thanks Steve…that means a lot!

  • IWearSpandex

    Marc, great stuff. I now feel guilty, regretful, and yet oddly motivated. Usually I just drink to make the past go away, or to push down the demons.

    Okay, if I force myself to be less sarcastic I would say that I really don’t dwell on the past. If I do bring it up, it’s the happy moments. Who wants to remember their crappy decisions and poor performances? Not me. I focus on today and making a better me somewhere tomorrow. Then I drink to toast to today. There’s a theme here with this drinking that I’m noticing.

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Between the drinking and the Spandex, you are starting to scare me :)

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  • Linda Doty

    I had to stop reading when the heart palpitations started. I think that means I know what I want to do but I’m too afraid to do it. :) OK, then, back to Twitter for shenanigans…

    • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

      Well? What is it!?! You can’t just drop that on me and then walk away! Let’s have it. I want to know 1) what you’re supposed to be doing and b) why you’re not doing it!