If you could push a button and go back to a place in your own personal history and start over from there, with all the wisdom you have now, would you?
I think most of us would say, "No, I've gotten to where I am because of the struggles and I fought hard to be where and who I am today."
But as I sit here typing this, and my house is a disaster, my 15 year old is pissed at me for grounding him, my credit is shot to hell, I have two failed marriages, an estranged family, and just feeling overall frustrated, it's pretty tempting to push the button and start over.
I have fought hard to be where and who I am today, and most days I feel good about who I am. When I'm not riddled with self-doubt, shame, fear and insecurities, I feel like a pretty amazing person. I genuinely like who I am. I may not be a super engaged friend, or a disciplined mom, and in general find myself to lean towards codependency in relationships, but the power and strength of who I am underneath all that makes up for it.
My big regret in life so far has been that I never took the time to develop who I was as an individual, and invested in adventures and challenges as a young adult. I wish I would have traveled more, or gone to college unencumbered from the weight of a family. I wish I would have been more self-aware before I got married and sucked into the church. I wish I would have healed more from my childhood before having my own children. In that regard if I could go back and start over, I think I would feel more whole now. I think I'd be a better, more attentive and disciplined mom. I think I wouldn't have to deal with the same shit over and over again in my relationships. I think I would feel less codependent and more confident. I think I'd be braver and stronger and healthier.
I know it's not too late, and I'm doing a lot of thinking about how I can work on all of that now, being 42 and having a house full of kids and a new relationship. But it's hard when I don't feel like I have much time for myself, and the chaos of life keeps me barely functional.
I'm grateful for the life I have today, regardless. I'm healthy, my kids are healthy, everyone knows they're loved and we all have plenty to eat and have lots of fun. Even if I can imagine having had a better future, there's nothing to do to change that, and I don't like the idea of living in regret, but pushing forward to make the next 42 years exactly how I want them. That's the beauty of being a more self-aware adult. I get to make the decisions for me and my future. Hopefully those decisions are more about me, and less about the fulfillment of joy for everyone else.