Tell Yourself

Given the opportunity to go back and relive one day of your life, would you relive your best day or your worst day?

It’s a question that I’ve been ruminating on for a while. It’s deceptively complicated to answer: for me, at least. For one thing, it’s a lot easier for me to pick a day as my worst day- the one concrete thing that I wish I could do differently in order to undo an endless trail of ripples that continue to bend my reality even today. It’s more difficult to pick a best day. Or rather, it’s such a painfully obvious choice (my wedding) that it almost doesn’t bear mentioning.

I guess the real question is: are you the kind of person who would try to change things? Or are you the kind of person who would try to keep everything the same? My instinct is to want to change things- to undo the ripples from a bad memory or a missed opportunity or a wrong choice- but then who would I become? Without the ripples, what would be the shape of my life? Would I be any better off or would I just be differently warped?

I finally came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t want to try and change anything, although if I could go back and talk to my adolescent self long enough to say: “you got some rough times ahead of you, and it’s going to suck, but it’s gotta happen- the suck is what turns you into me and it’s all going to be ok.”

I imagine myself telling my adolescent self this, and then I imagine growing up and struggling and making the same choices as before, but maybe this time with just slightly less fear and doubt and anxiety and depression and just a little bit more warmth and joy.

Assuming that I trust myself, of course.

And then I think about my future self looking back on my present self with the same message: there’s rough roads ahead, but it’s gotta happen and it will all be ok. I try to trust my future self as much as I hope my past will trust my present, but knowing me I’ll probably just dig my heels in and refuse to be told what to do out of spite. And things will suck and the way will be rough and I’ll feel the ripples for the rest of my life.

Which is just how it has to happen.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on January 12, 2019.

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