I posted a month or so ago on Facebook, "IF--you could have one do-over in life--would you take it?" It had 68 comments, and 40 answered yes, definitely, absolutely, etc. Nine were no. Twelve were maybes, no but maybe yes, and undecided. The remaining responses were to other comments, goofy comments, and spellcheck-type corrections.
I suppose it is fair to say that there are different types of do-overs. If one makes a stupid mistake, and their spouse, employer, parent, friend, sibling decides to show grace and give that person second chance, a wrong can essentially be corrected thus changing the following chain of events, relationships, and well-being. However, a do-over that requires going back in time to handle a situation differently, saying something instead of being quiet, shutting your pie hole instead of spewing off in a fit of anger, giving up when you should have been tough, stealing when you should have been buying, taking time for others when you were only thinking of yourself, betting on the Mets when you lost a whole paycheck because the Red Sox choked.
If do-overs that involve time travel ever come into existence, I kind think the Star Trek Prime Directive should come into play. One should not be able to do something that greatly alters history. Some joker would be picking every lottery pick, and then would buy out Microsoft, Apple, and the coffee cartel and take over the world. An example of that is Back To The Future 2 when Biff snagged Marty’s sports record book and made a bazillion dollars from sports bets. The whole town of Hill Valley was taken over by the mob. Also, making different relationship changes would result in children not being born, and there would be no end to how the changes in people’s lives generations down the line. Even changing that one time that you were a real jerk to your spouse—undone—could have multiple changes (some good, maybe some bad) down the line as well. A do-over early in life could correct a long series of bad decisions. That same change in the course of events could introduce a new strain of bad luck as well.
Where am I going with all of this? Well, I tried for about a week to be a runner when I was 18. I ran 3-4 times. The second time I ran, my mom ran with me. Now I thought I had to RUN every step, and sort of made mom run every step as well. She was 34-35 at the time and kept up, but after two miles, she was sore beyond belief. Of course, she never wanted to try running again. Had I been patient, maybe she would have liked it—she really WANTED to like it, but I ruined the chance of her becoming more active and healthy. Years later, I regretted that. Today, I have many friends who get into running in their 30s and 40s, and starting out slow, they are running10Ks, marathons, and even ultras within a year or so. My mom could have had that. As for me, I burned out on my fourth run when I tried to run 6 miles non-stop. My legs were so trashed by ridiculously going from 2 to 4 to 6 miles in a weeks’ time. Now, I can belt out 20 miler just for fun. Of course, I don’t give a flip about whether I go slow or fast, walk some or walk all. Had I not quit, I could have been one of the few to run a marathon back in the 70s, and who knows—I might have been one of the young guns in the JFK 5 mile, or Western States when you could just sign up and do it. Do-overs in the running department might not have made any drastic changes in history. No distortion in the time/space continuum.
I was a high school writer—well while in high school, I wrote. Looking back, it was 90% sick awful crap, but the other 10% showed promise. I was objective enough back then to know what was good, and what was not, although I would probably have rated it 70% crap. It was mostly non-rhyming verse, and short essays and ramblings. I was toying with an idea for a book that centered around an Italian family meshing with an all-American kid (me.) I had a lot of this recorded in my head but never followed through with it. But, after I got married, the writing stopped. Wife #1 was a critic, and I did not handle criticism well. I became more private with what I wrote, and that led to more dissent, so I gave it up. I wish I had stayed with it and I may have grown as a writer and would have certainly read more. On the other hand, I had two great sons, and they have grown up to be fine young men and between the two, I have 4 awesome grandkids.
When my boys were 10 and 12, I started playing golf and introduced the game to them. In a year, they were both better than me, although as much as we played, I was a halfway decent golfer. We played every Saturday and Sunday, and sometimes once or twice during the week. It was a great way to bond with the boys. At first, the wife/mom was good with it. But after a year or so of being at home alone for part of the days every weekend, it began to be a problem. I am a guy who is all-in, gung-ho, obsessed with any hobby or sport that I fancy, and was blind to her needs. I argued that we went out to eat once or twice on the weekends, and went to the movies. And it was good to spend time with the boys. This was the beginning of the end of our marriage. In a few years, we grew apart and eventually divorced in 1998. Now you might think that I would ask for a couple do-overs here, but all that is passed, and while I do remember the good times, I was so hurt from the way things ended that it was fine closing the book.
I met Dana during the end of a year of endless dating. I was not the savage womanizing bachelor that a few of my friends were during their single years, but I certainly made some bad choices here and there. One good choice I made was meeting Dana. We were compatible from the start. She brought some stability that I needed, settling me down from the wild partying that I seemed to be gravitating to. Her son Jason is like a son to me, and his family has added two grandkids to the tribe. That makes six, and in that regard, I am blessed.
Still, I have made some bad decisions during our marriage, some financially (a do-over please!) and some within our relationship. I have a tendency to try to soften the truth rather than take the whole brunt of the consequences. I dislike liars. I also hate that I have lied about things to lessen the due response to my actions. If we ever get do-overs, I am going for the bundle package.
Okay, I admit the preceding paragraphs are frivolous because I doubt we see do-overs that require time travel in our lifetime. I also bet we won’t to drive a DeLorean 88 MPH to go back in time. While it may seem like I’ve really bared my soul, there are a handful or do-overs that I won’t mention here. Who knows—some of them might involve YOU!