Have you ever had something big happen, good or bad, and thought "I wish I could go back and do things differently!" ? Most people do and while it's ideal to try and live with minimal regret, it's impossible not to have some.
I've often thought that if time travel were possible, I would go back to certain instances and run up to myself and say "Stop! In ten years from now..." and explain to my younger self why I should or should not do/eat/date/stare at/jump on/skip/attend certain people/events/moments/fabric softener containers, etc, etc.
There is the theory that if things didn't happen exactly the way they did, you wouldn't end up where you are now. Cause and effect. True. But sometimes, there's more than one way to an outcome and a lot of pain and misery and embarrassment and doctors bills and therapy bills and wasted time and energy could be avoided.
So, here are a few of my ideas of how I would've changed things and where I suspect it would've led to:
1984 - Tom Thumb Creche in Aunty Pam, the principle's office - "STOP! Don't be cheeky to Aunty Pam and tell her that it isn't her jungle gym, lean over instead and take Mr Pink and wallop her on the head and run! You'll be taken out of this rubbish nursery school and will be able to stay at home and not be exposed to these idiotic women who don't know anything about children."
I probably would've listened. Darn! Or maybe not and kicked myself really hard and run. I was a bit wild.
1991 - Primary school - "STOP! Don't bother trying to be that little girl's friend, she's a cow and you'll end up not speaking to her ever again in a few years anyway and won't feel upset at all!"
I probably would've told myself that I wasn't allowed to talk to strangers and walked away. So silly!
1995 - High School in homeroom where I was given 5 seconds to make my subject choice so that the admin department could finish their schedule - "STOP! This cow can't fail you! And don't choose history as a subject, you'll never actually study for the exam and you'll end up refusing to go to school and you'll end up leaving and buying the textbooks and just doing it all at home with totally different subjects anyway and it won't be very easy or fun!"
I would probably think "hmmm, home schooling...I like that idea!"
1999 - First serious boyfriend - "STOP! Just date this guy for a year until he pushes you to have some direction and then leave!!"
I would probably not have listened.
2004 - Buying a house with a person I thought I would marry - "STOP!! This dude is going to screw you over and you'll never be a first time buyer again and it will cause a messier than normal breakup and the guy is just a monster in a tutu. Run! And take the dogs and cats with you and kick his dad before you leave. Hard."
I may have started to question my sanity here at seeing myself giving me advice but I may very well have listened anyway.
2006 - Moving to Cape Town - "STOP!" Buy a new radiator cap and don't let the other chicky drive as she'll push your little car too far and it will break and cost you the earth until you sell the car!"
I would not have told anyone about this new-found strangely helpful craziness but I would've listened.
2007 - Dating someone who was looking for a relationship of convenience - "STOP! Just walk away. In fact, go back to Joburg NOW!"
I wouldn't have listened. I would've started consulting a psychiatrist though.
2009 - Shunning certain people after my dad died - "No, you keep going! It's long overdue anyway!"
2010 - Being proposed to in Cape Town - "SAY YES!! Don't stand there and think about it for 3 weeks! Just jump up and down and scream "YES!!!!" because you know you're going to say "yes" anyway! And make arrangements to spend time with your friends who mean a lot to you, especially Kerry."
By now I would've been so medicated that I probably would've just obediently complied.
I sat wondering this morning what I would be saying to myself ten years from now, or even two years from now:
"STOP! You're stressing too much about stupid things and you will be bald on your wedding day if you don't stop! Don't wear fake nails again! Buy a warmer coat and stop drinking coffee!"
At least I hope that's the worst it could be :)
Thanks goodness I am not medicated nor do I plan to be but if I ever see myself approaching me, I'd probably faint and never hear what I have to say anyway. Figures.