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May 29, 2007 [ More archived home pages here ]

If I Knew Then What I Know Now


The above image, Vision At Ocean Shores Swirl is also available as a Desktop

Today's song is Time Is On My Side by The Rolling Stones, released in 1965.

Many times I've heard people express that they would like to go back in time or to have made more informed decisions at prior times in their life. When I was a younger man, I too thought about what I could have done.

Of course, no one can have that opportunity and it's a good thing we don't. We might think we could improve our lives if we could have that power, but we are not God. We cannot predict what impact a different choice would have had on any particular moment in the past. Life is too complicated to predict at any time.

I know a person who is happy in life nowadays. What if I had a way to change an outcome for that person way-back-when? I have no way of knowing if that change would have brought that person to their resultant happiness. Maybe that change would have put that person in danger because of that altered path? Maybe instead of them being happy today, they might be dead because of a different outcome?

No one wants to contemplate that things could work out badly by changing the past. They only think that they could have made things "right." It is fantasy and a waste of time to wonder too long about "what-ifs".

I've been where I'm supposed to have been all along. For instance, just for the sake of argument, I could change the destiny of that person I was referring to previously. To do that would have been to also change my destiny. In my case, people might have died when I wasn't there to help them with first-aid. There are people I stopped from crossing unawares against the traffic light on a rush-hour downtown Chicago street. Should they have been sacrificed for my wishful scenario?

My daughter would never have been born, nor her daughter. How many people did my daughter positively impact in her life? All that would be gone if I satisfied my selfish desire to change another person's and my resultant destiny. No thanks, I have enough guilt from life as it is.

How about the knowledge aspect? What if I knew then what I know now? I would hope that I wouldn't do anything different to affect my life or anyone else's that would change their current outcome. That means, I let people die that were supposed to die. It means, I would watch other people come and go in my life and know that I will be missing them when they go away for the last time. Those are not great rewards for having knowledge beyond my years and experiences back then.

It is okay to think about the past and learn from life's lessons. The next lesson to learn is right around the corner, it seems. I need all my focus and attention to deal with that and not spend more than a brief interlude on why I wasn't as smart then as I seem to be now. I occasionally remind myself, I'm not always that smart now and that's okay with me too. I still have some time to work on those aspects of my life.

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For those readers that would like to travel back through time, this article provides some opportunities.

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I read this on Memorial Day about a living World War I veteran who still remembers:

"Buckles said a long life has left him many memories, some of them painful, such as his time in the prison camp. But he said he learned over time that talking about the past can be the best antidote."

He must be a very wise man.

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I found this page to look up service people who have died in performance of their duties. They made the ultimate sacrifice for we Americans.

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I know enough to finish this message with the following Digital Insight.

Valley of Thirst (Created in October 1999)

There are actual things we want, we desire, we crave for relief. It may be something we possessed that once seemed at that time so perfect or it may be something we never experienced.

It's absence is marked by the dreaded longing, increased distress, perhaps even deprivation of our Spirit. Yet we carry on seeking to quench that need--somehow. Using my own words, I quote a portion from that page's narration:

"Drink deeply and consider. We all thirst for something. Sometimes that thirst is satisfied and sometimes it is merely postponed."

Don


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