It's called "About Time," a British flick about a young man who learns from his father that all of the men in their family have the gift of traveling back in time. No one can go forward. But if you want to recreate a single moment in the past, you simply find a dark space, clench your fists, think of the memory and instantly you're transported. Suspicious of whether it's possible and if indeed, he can keep recreating moments until they are exactly as he would hope them to be with the benefit of retrospection, he keeps going backward...until he realizes that not everything can be fixed and ultimately, the goal is to live every day as if it's the last day of your perfectly extraordinary, ordinary life.
Like most, I find myself reeling between the past and the future with little time for the present. Which is wholly ironic in every way because the only "real time" that we have is now. Nevertheless, I find myself analyzing what I could have done differently yesterday while simultaneously, making plans for my tomorrows.
But what if?
What if you could go back and "fix" a single moment or memory? Would you? Would it create a ripple effect that would render the remainder of your experiences tarnished because of your choice to change history?
Not long ago, I delivered a presentation to a large lecture hall of graduate students. I was nervous as hell and so thankful that I had on a sleeveless dress as I'm certain that sweat was rolling like a river down my body. Somewhere in the midst of my gusto for talking about conflict resolution, I belted out that a character in one of the case studies was a real "ass wipe." The room went silent. My face went white. And then all of the sudden, the guy in the back shouted, "kinda like my roommate," to which everyone started laughing. Saved.
We second guess ourselves constantly.
Did we do the right thing? Say the right thing? Are we making the right choices? Investing our time and energy where we should be?
I think the beauty of not knowing how you'll behave or perform in any given scenario coupled with the inability to "take it back," is a beautiful and painful and present way to live. It requires you to try without any guarantee for the preferred result or outcome. And when you fail or it doesn't look like what you'd hoped for, there's lessons and learning in that part of the journey as well.
So, to be honest, when I think back over vivid memories, are there some old deusche bag bosses or meany dates that I'd love to banish from my past...maybe....but in the end, I suppose I became who I am because of them. I'm more inclined to banish the negative or less than thoughts that I've burdened myself with over the years...the collateral damage of those seems far more grueling.
But what I would love to do is to go back to that 16, 19, 25, 35 year old girl and somehow show her in those crazy moments of vulnerability and doubt that really, it's going to be okay. Actually, it's going to be more than okay. It's going to be a beautiful hot mess.