I’ve been asked many times in my life the question that I like to call “The Time Machine Question.” Summed up, the question asks, “if I had the chance to go back in time and undo something that I have done before, what would I change?” Other than the obvious statement of investing in Apple or Microsoft or Google, I can honestly answer with just one word: nothing.
There is not a thing that I have done in my life that I would change. I would not change the Thanksgiving day that I overate, leaving me sick through the night, nor the knee injury I sustained in high school that left me on crutches for half the year, nor the two-and-a-half year relationship with my “high school sweetheart” that really only should have lasted one.
Nor the deaths in my family as they drop from the world too soon.
Life is a series of lessons, one after another, that are meant to teach. To live is the process of experiencing the lessons and trying to learn from them. From the Thanksgiving episode, I learned that there can indeed be too much of a good thing. From my injury in high school, I learned that there are limits to what one can do without proper training. From my disappointing relationship, I learned to recognize when something sweet goes sour. From the deaths in my family, I learned that life itself has limits, and I must learn my lessons well before the day I no longer can.
You may see this view as challenging. In a way, I suppose it could be, but if there’s one thing I’ve realized through living these lessons, it’s that there are no mistakes in life. Instead, there are merely lessons that may hurt more than others. But sometimes, those lessons are the ones that matter most. Sometimes the pains received from these lessons (physical or emotional) are the reminders so that it is certain that the lesson need not be repeated.
I truly believe in the lessons that life gives us. I know that I am a better person because of the lessons, and I know that these lessons are merely steps in the right direction to becoming the person that I really want to be. I truly believe in the enormous power of a lesson learned, and the knowledge received from them. Lessons may be harsh on me, and they may hurt, but I believe there is a reason for the pain, though I know the reason is only for me to decide. So were time travel an option, I know the choice would always be simple for me. Why would I change something that contributed to create the man I am today?