Can We Take a Do-Over? What We Wish We’d Done Differently


“If I knew then what I know now……” my elders often said when I was growing up. They never finished the sentence that I can remember, but nodded wisely at one another as if the continuation of the thought were telepathically understood. That partial sentence makes a lot more sense to me now and the goddesses have spent a fair amount of time reflecting on this look back.

As it turns out, we don’t have regrets exactly, but there are some situations looking back where we wish we could have a do-over. From our current perspective, we spent far too much time worrying, obsessing, perfecting, pushing, fearing, and procrastinating. We are sure we’d have created a different experience if we’d only known then what we know now.

The Venuses all wished they’d been freer and taken more chances. Looking back, we’d like to have experimented more, traveled more, enjoyed ourselves more.

In no particular order we wish we had danced, written, read, and made art. Playing an instrument, living abroad, learning a language, yoga and laughter also topped our do-over list as did spending time with family. We’d camp, hike, do yoga, and spent more quiet time without having to answer to anyone.

We wish we’d done a long river trip and joined the Peace Corps. Some of us wished we had been more active politically and taken strong stands when we felt so moved.

A universal wish was that we would have taken better care of our own needs. We would have liked to have been more open and kept the wide eyed wonder of youth. Trusting our intuition and judgment were options we wish we’d exercised.

We would have liked to try more time alone when we were younger, to get acquainted with ourselves before the demands of work and family overtook us.

Given what we know now, we would also choose to look at alternative ways of living, take time to develop our spiritual life, and “listen to the whispers.”

Our do-over would definitely include less cleaning, gossiping, and procrastinating. We would wish to be less controlling and critical. We wouldn’t neglect our own needs, we’d blame less and celebrate more, and we wouldn’t worry so much about appearances. We’d happily give up trying to do it all and we’d joyfully jettison the roles of victim and martyr.

Given the choice to go back and relive the past, we’d be bold, adventurous, loving, fearless, and balanced.

Luckily, the second half of life still awaits us – there may be time yet to realize our dreams. Instead of a do-over, we may be ready for a go ahead!

(Material partially adapted from my book “The Big M”. Click on the link below to buy the book – proceeds help support this website – thanks for your support!)

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7 Responses to Can We Take a Do-Over? What We Wish We’d Done Differently

  1. Claire Jacobson October 5, 2009 at 4:29 pm #

    Wow…you definitely have me inspired :0)

  2. Lynette Sheppard October 5, 2009 at 5:42 pm #

    Thanks, Claire!

  3. October 5, 2009 at 9:18 pm #

    I spent the better part of last night, you know the part where the rest of the world is asleep and I’m up peeing for the third time, thinking of things I would have liked to have done differently. They are all much more what ifs than regrets. It was fun to pick one and follow it through to today, imagining how things would be different if I would have jumped over the kid, like in the movie “Run Lola Run”.

  4. sandra October 5, 2009 at 9:19 pm #

    Love it! Already been through the big M! No big deal…well, maybe. I love to blog and love your “do over” topic. I may write on that one day too.

    Sandra Mathy,Techy,Artsy Fartsy sends good stuff your way!

  5. Theresa October 5, 2009 at 9:20 pm #

    It was fun to read your blog following a recent trip I took with a gal-friend. During our journey and week as roommates, we shared many stories and thoughts. One of the discussions that came up had to do with some younger women we knew of experiencing life in manners we were taught “good girls don’t do.” What was funny was that both of us smiled and agreed that as long as their actions did not hurt others, then what fun they will have later in life telling their stories. We both agreed that one of the best pieces of advice we could have been given would have been encouragement to “create” our own stories. Think about it. Don’t the memories surround risks taken bring a smile from time to time?

  6. Betty Zahler October 5, 2009 at 9:21 pm #

    As time goes on , i wish i had done many things differently.Actually, being more patient, understanding and loving. I cannot relive these portions of my life but try with my advancing age to inprove. Ultimately we mortals are not perfect but improving our lives daily works to make life worth living for us and our loved ones.

  7. Carol J. October 5, 2009 at 9:21 pm #

    Oh boy, do I agree. (and there are days that a complete “do over” would be nice, too!); but overall, just some changes in my own personal attitude and I might have been the person that I’d always wanted to be…except that I didn’t really know her yet.

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