Monday, September 25, 2006

Ch... ch... ch... changing

Geena asked:

“If you had to it all over again...your life, that is, would you change anything knowing what you know now? And why or why not?”

There is a simple answer to this, in that I would change nothing. I would not, could not imagine wishing away my children. They have a hold on me its hard to describe. They can make me angry, make me sigh with the constant reminders I have to make to get them to do things, make me shake my head with despair at what they try to do. Yet they can also make me laugh with sheer joy at the way they approach life, they can fill me with pride when they take on a new challenge, they can tug at my heart strings in the way no one else, not even LL, can.

To change one detail in my life would be to put at risk their being, and that I could not do. It would also change me, and I like me, so two sound reasons to not go back and change my life.

However, it’s a hypothetical question, so deserves a hypothetical answer. Lets say I could go back and re-live certain moments, try different paths and still manage to meet LL at the right time, in the right frame of mind and have my life settle down the way it did. Are there things I would do differently? Yes.

I’m reminded of a quote, Plato I think, though I could have that wrong. “Life is best understood backwards, but must be lived forwards”. I doubt there is a soul amongst mankind that does not have a single regret, a wish they had done something differently.

There is the obvious and it is perhaps a bit trite. I was a shy boy, painfully so with the opposite sex. At the time I thought I was a complete failure, and that’s true, just not the way I thought at the time. With the eyes and experience I have now there was a long string of girls who seemed to find me interesting. Some where even quite bold about their interest, I was just totally blind at the time. So there are certainly opportunities offered that I would take up given the chance again.

I think I would have changed the order of my life too. I rowed at university, did pretty well too. However, in some sense I started at the wrong time. I was still too novice to make the ’84 Olympics. When I graduated I had a choice, carry on and defer a career for a few years on a chance I might be good enough to make the team, or go into a certain career option. I was lucky enough to have a couple offers at the time. I chose the career, but I’ve always had a lingering regret that I should have taken the chance. It would have meant living as a pauper for a few years, working like a daemon, but then how many people can say they’ve competed at the Olympics?

But is there anything else? I’ve been sitting here for ten minutes on the train thinking, and you know what? There’s very little else I would change. There was a death in my past I’ll talk about at some point, but no amount of knowledge could change that though there are things prior I would change. There are arguments and spats with LL I would do differently if I could do them again, but then LL and I have a good relationship now, and that’s based on all our history, so in retrospect I probably wouldn’t change them. There are incidents in raising children when you know you should have behaved differently, responded differently, but if I changed those would my children be changed? They’re good kids, and what’s in them is in part how I behaved.

So, one trite answer, one serious answer, but in the end I like my life. Its not been easy, I’ve had my rocky periods, but its been a good life. I’ve experienced more than most, generally behaved with morals I am happy with, and its led to a family life I’m both content and happy with. I really wouldn’t change it.


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