In the latest push for a movie remake, Twitter has drudged up the plot of Back to the Future to make us all feel terrible about ourselves.
The idea of jumping back in the past is always an alluring one, especially for young people these days. Seems so easy to second guess myself on literally every. single. thing. I. do.
I mean not to complain but I am a straight white male. Literally, my pure existence could be / most likely is pissing someone off somewhere in the world. So why wouldn't I second guess myself into believing that changing past decisions would make my life so much better.
So many times in my life I have done unbelievably stupid things that in the moment felt like the end of the world. Every single time, I would sit and think how stupid I was, or if only I had chosen differently.
From here, this idea that, "if I had only made a different decision", sits in your head making you wonder if you have actually failed to realize your full potential. Did that one wrong choice make it impossible for you to truly become you?
If you have followed the news at all, there was recently a story about three young men in Memphis, one who was being bullied, and the other two who helped get the young man clothes and show some compassion.
I watched these kids on Ellen and it really sank in just how important their story was.
Here are two kids who weren't in fact saints, but just like all the other kids, they were making jokes. That was, until they realized the mistake in their actions, and worked to correct those choices they had made. One thing leads to another, and Will Smith is giving them and their entire school free stuff because these two young men were decent human beings.
So how does this connect to not regretting my past?
Well, sometimes we are a part of the problem. Sometimes we lose things we think are crucial to our ability to live and be successful. Sometimes we make mistakes, sometimes we fall short of our goals, sometimes we just aren't our best version of ourselves.
But wondering about what life may have been like if we chose differently in those moments creates un-intended self hate.
Now maybe you are trying to wallow in a pit of self hate over a personal fault. So be it.
But if you are feeling stressed over what could have been, that is ultimately taking away from what is. Wishing that you had chosen differently, and become a different person than who you are, you are in a round about way admitting that you aren't happy with who you are.
Hey, sometimes we need to say that to ourselves. Sometimes we need to admit that we could be better in the FUTURE for ourselves based on our actions in the moment. But imagining a present, based on different decisions in the past, creates a version of us that we will probably never live up to.
Understanding the exact right decision to make for our lives long term would be impossible unless we know what the final outcome of our lives is.
Living until 95? Take your time with life, enjoy yourself, save money, play the long game with yourself.
Struck with some unfortunate luck that cuts your life short? Maybe be reckless, look for fun and not for pain.
It's literally impossible to know, and you can run yourself in mental circles worrying about it all. Looking in the past for comfort in who you could've been only slows you from becoming who you can be in the future.