What Are You Going to Wish You Could Change in the Future?

3 Oct

I’ve been thinking a lot about choices, and how much they affect our lives. What if you could go back in time and change just one little thing – how would that affect your life now? Most of the time when we think about things we’d like to change, we think about the bigger things, like choosing a different major or not breaking up with that special person. But what if we were to change the smaller things? What would you want to change? Would you decide to go left instead of right? Would you stop for five minutes longer to talk to a stranger? How much would that change your current life?

There are several reasons why I’ve been thinking about these things. One is that a close friend has been thinking about decisions in her life recently, trying to decide what she’s going to do about relationships. Not that she’s unhappy, but she’s not 100% happy, either. She’s been having a hard time deciding what she wants to happen, and how she wants to make it happen. I just simply asked her, what are you going to wish you could change in the future? This became more significant to me after watching an episode of Lost that deals with being able to see the future, and trying to change it. This is the other reason why I’ve been thinking about choices lately. The character, Desmond, who’s become one of my favorites, regrets a decision he made in the past that, of course, cannot be undone. It’s heartbreaking to know you’ve made a decision that you can’t change, but that’s life. We can’t change the past, and we can’t travel through time. Sometimes this is a hard fact to swallow.

It definitely makes me think about the things I’d like to change about my life. There are some bigger ones, for sure. I’d go back to my freshman year of college and loosen up a bit. I’d relax more, and have a better, more positive outlook about life. I think I got so obsessed with grades and my reputation at school that I forgot about having fun. Not that college wasn’t fun – it definitely had some great moments. I’d just give myself a more general sense of fun and adventure. I probably would have laid off the cookies much more, too. There are things I’d go back in my life and apologize for – or completely undo them. There are opportunities I would have taken. These are the big things, though. What about the little things? Like, what if I’d spent just a few more minutes somewhere – who did I miss meeting by leaving early? You never know when the small moments in life are going to turn into the great ones.

It’s been interesting for me to see how my life has played out the last year and a half. When I graduated, I really thought I’d just be taking off one year from school, living at home and working to save money in the meantime. Well, that hasn’t exactly stayed true to plan. I’m now taking two years off (hopefully not longer than that), and in the meantime have a much more involved and important job than I ever thought I would. My intentions were to work somewhere part-time, but I’ve ended up with a position that requires me to work much more often than that. I’m busy all the time, going here and there, meeting all kinds of people. We can make all the plans we want, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to work out the way we want. Even though I’ve had to drastically change my plans, I think it’s been for the better. I’ve gotten so much great experience, been able to live at home and save money on living expenses, and still stay close to the people who mean the most to me. It’s a pretty good life.

With all that said, you just can’t help but wonder, what if? What if I’d been brave enough to spend a semester abroad, or tell him how much I cared for him? There’s no way of knowing, of course. But sometimes I would like to find out how my life would be different. Then we can open up the debate of free will vs. predestination. How much of our lives are already planned out, before they even happen, and how much control of them do we really have? I think it’s a combination of both. God knows what we’re going to do, where we’re going to end up, but gives us the free will to choose how we get there. Nikki and I were talking about this the other day, and she also brought up the point that, as humans, we can’t comprehend of this complex relationship. It’s beyond our capacity of knowledge to fully understand how this works. I think she’s right about this – the more you try to understand it, the less you do.

So I guess I’m just along for the ride. Who knows where I’ll end up, and how I’ll get there. I know I’m in control of my life. I don’t want to make – or not make – decisions that I’ll regret. I don’t want to want to change anything about my life. I think this is when you’re truly happy – when you wouldn’t change a thing. I’ll get there someday. Hopefully, we all will.

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