There are things I wish I had done differently. There are situations where I wish I had reacted better. There are conversations I could have handled more compassionately. There are people I should have judged less. Times when I should have spoken up more, and times when I should have said nothing at all. Relationships that should have ended long before they did. Friendships that I should have fought harder to hold onto.
These are the moments that keep me awake at night.
Then there are the memories sweet dreams are made of. Perfect days where I would not want to change a thing, but go back and bask in every single detail all over again.
Long summer days spent on the beach in Devon last year. Family barbecues and laughing with friends. Good food, fine wine. First steps, first words, first uninterrupted night’s sleep.
And, the ‘if only’ moments where if we knew then what we know now, we could prevent taking the wrong turn that made us 4-hours late for Christmas. We could make sure to never miss an important deadline again, or drink white wine on a low-carb diet. We could step over the puddles, dodge the cheese board we know we will never be able to resist, avoid people we do not want to see on a bad hair day, and never ever light that first cigarette.
If given the chance to repeat one day of our life to do things differently, take a different path, undo a regret, or spend more time with someone we love, then every day could be a perfect day.
We could be millionaires! Write a book about a boy wizard. Join the Spice Girls. Meet Gary Barlow before he was famous and MARRY HIM. Invent blogging.
We could steal somebody else’s life.
But that would be wrong…
So the first place I would visit would probably be my old school; where I would spend more time revising and less time smooching a boy. Then maybe I might have gone to university and had a career, instead of a job that in my mind served only to fund my social life.
There are a couple of friendships I would be less frivolous with. People I should not have been so quick to give up on. Now I wish I could remember why.
I would not allow someone I had been drinking with all afternoon to colour my hair.
I would stop my son from jumping up and down on the bed before he fell and broke his arm.
Although, my corporate working life was really not so bad. I had loads of fun in the years I spent working in various advertising & PR agencies in London. This is also how I met ‘my girls’. I could never take the risk of not meeting any one of them in my Do-Over life.
Just in writing this blog I am doing what I always wanted to do. So, I did get there eventually. I just took a more scenic route.
Would I have ever had the courage to leave a career for a 12-month holiday in Australia, the same way I upped and left my job at the time? I still reflect back on that year as one of the most important of my life. It is a cliché to say that I found myself, but that is how it felt at the time. How it still feels now. I returned home from that trip inspired, stronger, happier.
If I had been on any other road, I may not have gone when I did, or even at all. It had to be then. It would not have been the same at any other time, with any other people.
I have come to learn that there will always be setbacks and disappointments; and as soon as we conquer one, another just springs up in its place. It can feel a bit relentless sometimes. But, these are the moments that make us who we are and how we deal with them, shapes us.
Maybe I am a better friend now because I do not like how it feels to be a shitty one. I definitely know the reason I like my hair now, is because I have treated it to regular salon treatments since the emergency colour correction required after the orange/yellow/green striped episode. Those bad relationships probably taught me to recognise when a good one came along.
So, if I could have a Do-Over day, I probably would not go back in time to rectify all of my past mistakes, but more likely revisit a happy place and time instead.
Inhale the scent of my newborn baby again.
Dance to Gold on my wedding day.
Carpet picnics & box-sets of Lost with the Greek God(zilla).
The Selfridge’s sale.
If every day was perfect, those moments that do really deserve to stand out would be lost.
We don’t need to change our past to sleep better, we just need to change ourselves.
Although, how cool would it be to have invented blogging?!