I was mulling over topics for my next blog post when my muse paid a short visit.

“How about a post on re-do’s. You know, things you would go back and re-do if you could.”

“It’s called a do-over. Not a re-do,” I informed her.

“Whatever,” she said. Then she was gone. I’ve got to learn not to get her angry.

It was an intriguing thought. What would I do-over if I could? Well for starters, I wouldn’t buy those cute $90 kitten heel mules that felt fine in the store, but turned my feet into burning hunks of coal every time I wore them after that.

And I would definitely pass on the “home hair-coloring advice” I read in a magazine. (Mix grape juice with peroxide and wash your hair with it for subtle highlights. The sad thing is I never noticed what a hideous orange it was until years later, looking at pictures).

But what about the important stuff?  I’d thought about it before and sometimes a do-over of life sounded really good. Some people say they wouldn’t do anything differently because then they wouldn’t be who they are. I always thought that was a load of crap. When I was ten years old, there was already stuff I wanted to do over.

I thought about my life. Would I choose a different path in college? Would I move to upstate New York with my boyfriend (now husband) at nineteen? Would I still marry him? Would I have five kids? Would I start my writing career sooner?

My mind wanders to the night before my wedding. If I was going to change anything, it would probably be that night. And the thought is tempting. My fiancé and I lived in New York but were getting married in Michigan on a Saturday. My fiancé and one of my bridesmaids got into town on Thursday evening right before the wedding rehearsal. That left only Friday night for a little bachelorette fun.

My friends got tickets to Sexy Rexy Friday evening. I drove to meet them at the bar, in the car we’d rented to use for the wedding. Renting limos for weddings wasn’t that common back then (boy, that’s a saying that makes you feel old). Two of the couples standing up in the wedding were driving it from the church to the reception the next day.

The tickets included two free drinks of your choice. I got two Long Island iced teas because those were the most expensive drinks and I’d never had them before. They went down very easily, let me tell you, but they were very potent. I don’t remember my friends taking me out to the car later. I don’t remember being passed out for hours in the backseat. And I don’t remember throwing up. I remember the ride home, horizontal in the back seat, as my maid-of-honor and my cousin drove and friends followed in another car to give them a ride back.

I remember getting up on the morning of my wedding, after four hours of sleep, and scrubbing the backseat of the rental car so it could be used by our lovely attendants (The ones who actually didn’t go to the bar the night before. How unfair is that?)

Despite everything, our wedding was wonderful and I looked and felt radiant. And as I really ponder my life and things I regret, I realize I would not choose to do-over  that evening or anything else, because– as some people say– I wouldn’t be the person I am right now, or have the family I’ve been blessed with.

If you could have a do-over, would you?


23 comments on “Do-Overs

  1. I would not marry my first husband at. I would not have gotten that perm on top of the perm I already had (super frizzzzzz) I would have tried harder at school.

    Good story 🙂


  2. That’s quite a loaded question! (Speaking of loaded, I totally knew where this story was going when I read “two Long Island Iced Teas.” I even smell one drop of those things and I’m buzzed.)

    While I do agree that everything happened for a reason and made me who I am today–for better or for worse–there are certainly things I would have done differently. But if given the chance, there is no way I would want to go back in time and have to relive everything over. Where I am now is where I’m supposed to be–not forever, of course, but for now.

    I suppose that just places importance on the decisions we make day-to-day, so we don’t regret them tomorrow!


  3. You were definitely radiant! I think it would be ironic to say I want to change anything in my 21 year-old life. I really do not think I would because I believe things happen for a reason. 🙂

    Loved this post!


  4. When you mentioned it would be too easy to do those things over knowing what you know now, I got to thinking. Life would be much easier if we knew what to do, but it would be so boring! I am glad to have struggled through parts of my own life and the hindsight later on because it helps me empathize with other people. Thanks for sharing with us. =)


    • I like your insight. You’re right. It would get boring and the temptation for me would be arrogance.


    • Ah, but here’s the fun thing: you can’t live your life knowing everything about living. However, this is why God gave us PARENTS. Because they’ve been our age before, they’ve been through most situations we’re going through, and (though few people ever want to admit it), let’s face it, they’re an awful lot like us. So we get the benefit of hindsight in the form of their advice (and, shall we say, ‘edicts’), while still having to make our own decisions and live our own lives. Even taking childhood embarrassments and questions about grandchildren into account, I call that a good deal.


  5. If I could go back I don’t know were I would start as I’ve mananged to get quite a few things wrong but arriving at where I am now is not bad so perhaps things were just meant to be


    • That’s why I wouldn’t change anything. There are plenty of mistakes and regrets, but where I am right now is pretty good. And if I could have a do-over, I’d just screw up something different this time around.


  6. I would have wanted to go way back.

    Like in, OK, I have lived 6 decades as a man, let me try this do over as a woman.


  7. You left out the most important part of the question – if you could have a do-over, would you, ** knowing what you know now **.

    If I couldn’t know what I know now, I don’t want any do-overs. However, if I could have a do-over, knowing what I know now, I’d have a long list.

    How could it be any other way? To say you wouldn’t go back and change some things knowing what you know now is just saying that, along the way, you’ve learned nothing.

    What are some of the things that I would change? I would have gotten serious about my faith sooner; I would have gotten more involved with organized sports as a kid; I would have devoted more time to music and less to television; I would have joined the military (I thought about it a lot but never did it); I would have started a business sooner; I would have been a better husband, father, son, brother & friend; I would have made far fewer acid remarks to and about others.


    • I have lots of regrets and things I wish I’d done differently, but I still wouldn’t want a do over. I’m afraid it would change where I am now. And where I am now is exactly where I want to be.


    • Yeah, but if you changed any of that then *I* wouldn’t be who I am, because I wouldn’t have been watching the same person all my life. And we wouldn’t want THAT, now would we? 😉


  8. Dawn i gotta tell you life works out the way it is supposed to. i’me divorced, have 3 wonderful kids and i love my life…i live lik e a king…and i work hard to maintain that life…it is also the accepted path that i am due to lead… i’m happy, others are happy… so I live with very few regrets…

    loved your post!



    • Thanks T. Love your attitude.

      Regrets seem useless except for that teachable moment that comes with them. Once you learn from it, get rid of it (the regret). Of course it just took me five seconds to think of that and I may regret posting this reply after more thought 😉


  9. Oh and it’s completely my mistake for leaving off the “E” at the end of your name… amazing people deserve to have the correct version of their name spelled properly…

    My bad… oh just think though…I just called you amazing… so I did…



  10. I have been giving this some thought. I believe the person I am today is a sum total of all my experiences and decisions and while I do regret some of those decisions, I don’t know if I would change them. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to form a proper causal connection between 2 events. I might decide to do x differently thinking that it would affect y but it might end up affecting z. There are too many variables and life could just get worse. It makes a lot more sense to just continue with things as they are and accept them and make peace with the past.

    I think the ramifications of a do-over were wonderfully illustrated in The Butterfly Effect. If you haven’t already seen it, I recommend you rend a DVD and watch it when you can. It might help you with your question.

    Great post.


    • I used to think that I would do many things differently if I could have that chance, but after giving it some thought, I decided I wouldn’t change anything for the same reasons you mention.

      I like your line: “accept them and make peace with the past.” That’s a great way to look at it.

      I’ll have to watch The Butterfly Effect. I always thought it looked interesting.


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