50 Thoughts: There Really Aren’t Any Do-Overs, Are There?

Originally published August 19, 2018

Life — it’s all fun and games until someone plays the “Woulda Coulda Shoulda” card.

Up next in my 50-day blog game: the concept of do-overs. It comes on the heels of finishing “A Place for Us,” by Fatima Farheen Mirza — wrapped up in the wee early morning hours in a motel lobby while while chaperoning my senior daughter’s swim team overnight. (I mention this because, in relation to “no do-overs,” only insane people are typically up for that kind of assignment. But because it was most likely one of the last times I would ever be able to do that kind of thing for one of my kids, how could I say no?)

In the book, members of a family come to terms with actions they took that potentially played a role in another family member’s undoing. It’s a whole lot of woulda coulda shoulda in retrospect, and an understanding there’s no going back, just forward.

The cuts made run deep — jealousy, intimidation and the ugly underbelly of both tradition and authority, lead family members to make mistakes they cannot undo, no matter how much they regret their move or love the person they hurt.

One of the harsher realities of life as you get older is the understanding you’ve said or done hurtful things. No one likes to be the asshole. Friends, families, coworkers — none of it feels very good after it has rolled off the tongue.

Ah, the Tao of Tom Hanks:

I think for most people, our better angels being to appeal to us as we mature out of high school and college — we leave behind the “I hate you!”s we mutter under our breath at our parents and stop trash talking exes behind their backs (Except of course, you land a spot on “Bachelor in Paradise.” That’s some next-level trash talking by people that seem to forget they aren’t 17 and dumped at the Dairy Queen.)

But it doesn’t mean as we age we don’t speak before we think when it comes to our kids. Or coworkers. Words and actions can still hurt long after we leave the playground. Everyone’s perspective is different — a concept that can sometimes be hard to remember as our mindset grows ever more rigid. So, while looking back over 50 years in order go forward another 50, I’m hopeful I can listen more, talk less, and try to remember as we all look for happiness, one person’s path does not need to match mine to get to the same destination.

Day 1: 50 Days, 50 Thoughts, 50 Books

Book 1: The Bitch is Back

Book 2: A Place for Us

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