If I Could Go Back In Time, What Would I Tell My Younger Self?

If I could go back in time, I would probably tell myself to slow down. Life goes by far too fast, and I have allowed myself to rush through far too many things. As a child, I had a bit of a rocky start in life. I had a father, who was, some would say strict, based on the bruises and marks often left on my body, others would say, abusive. Regardless, I was a very withdrawn and insecure person from a very early place in life. After a “situation” that left my legs covered in bruises, I ran away from home at the ripe old age of seventeen. I moved in with my cousin’s friend, who was much older than me, and I found out quite quickly, that I was no where near ready for adulthood. But as they say, you can’t go back home, thus, I began my life of rash decisions followed by an almost emergent series of adjusting my life and myself to make those decisions fit as though they were what was meant to be for my life. There have been many times when I suffered as a consequence, there have been times that it was my children who suffered as a consequence. As a parent, you never intentionally do things that will end up being hurtful to your children, you try to make choices that you believe, at the time, will be in their best interest. But often times, those choices do not play out so.
I find myself now, facing the latter part of my life, and often get down because I feel as though I do not have anything to show for my life, thus far. I do not have my own home, I do not have my own car, and I still have far too much student loan debt. Following a nasty divorce, I wound up having to go through bankruptcy, and am at this point in my life, still trying to rebuild good credit. I do not even have a comfy nest egg saved away for retirement, even though that will be quite a few years away. Many times, I find it far too easy to get down on myself pretty hard about the things that I have failed to accomplish at this point in my life, mainly due to rash choices I have made since I was younger. But, I think, sometimes it is far too easy to play the victim and toss around tickets to the pity party like confetti. I can say with most certainty that most of those snap decisions I have made have came from the influence or as a direct reaction to the actions of someone else. Therefore, there is an entire laundry list of people for whom I can blame for the little that I have accomplished in my life. But, throwing blame rarely ever improves one’s circumstances. I rather choose to put my energy into what I have gained from life. I have two wonderful and amazing children who happen to be incredible adults and have accomplished so much in their own perspective lives. I have an incredible daughter in law, who is such a wonderful addition to our family, that I could not imagine life without her. I have two of the most perfect granddaughters that have ever graced the earth. They are my whole world. I have found the love of a good and decent man. I challenges me and lifts me both, at times when I need to be challenged or lifted up. I may not have a home, but I have found that not owning a home allows me a degree of freedom and mobility. My husband and I travel, often, and now have decided to tempt fate, and move to Florida. One of my biggest dreams in life has been to live on the Gulf of Mexico, and he has made it his mission to make my dream a reality.
So, at the end of the day, I believe the one thing I would say to myself, had I the opportunity to go back is to slow down. Life has a way of getting away from you and it is important to stop from time to time, and truly smell the roses. Perhaps many of the choices I have made in my life have been hasty and have not all been the most sensible of the most beneficial ones to me. However, each and every choice I have made has brought me to the place I am in life right now. While I may have some regrets about some of the decisions I have made, overall, I am in a really good place now, and I cannot possibly imagine the path of my life taking me in any other direction than where I am now. But, I only wish I could go back and have just a little more time to enjoy and appreciate the value of certain aspects of my life, things that I will never have an opportunity to get back. Such as, getting to enjoy the simplicity and freedom of childhood, or getting to enjoy the idea that the teenage years are so much a part of what shapes us as adults. It would be nice to get the time back to appreciate my youth and have the knowing that teenage years are only temporary and nothing that happens in high school actually lasts forever. I would truly love the opportunity to go back in time and hold my children just a little longer and play with them just a little more when they were young. I truly believe one of the harshest regrets of getting older, is the reality of just how fast our children grow up.
So, I am going to move to the Gulf of Mexico and enjoy the beauty and simplicity in watching a sunset across the ocean. I am going to enjoy slow, uninterrupted time with my granddaughters. And, I am going to take time to sit with my husband and take in all the love and laughter we share, and I will spend the latter part of my life, having no regrets, because I plan to make every decision a thoughtful and purposeful step in my journey.

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