If you know anything about my life history, you will know the thought of "do-overs" has occurred to me. One cannot live a life that includes addiction, a divorce, and the bearing of children before finishing college without some self-reproach.
I really don't live much in regret, though. I very much fear that any explanation of this will sound trite and involve lemons and lemonade, or worse, something suspiciously like truck stop quality Buddhism. However, the honest to God truth is that after I am done briefly fuming about whatever misfortune I feel Fate has handed me, and what I have done to make the situation worse, I see the past as sort of interestingly irrelevant. It continues to be sort of amusing as the subject of stories, but it is just the Past, as immovable and solid as a stone. Perhaps this is the survival strategy of the prodigious fuck-up. It's aallll water under the bridge now, folks. I'm moving on.
Here are two examples of situations that might summon up a desire for a Mulligan in the average human being, but which I have handled using my champion positive self-talk. You may want to take notes.
|Photo Credit: Flickr|
While living in a tiny cottage in the redwood forest of California, I failed to have my chimney cleaned for several years. As a result, while I was at a social gathering nearby and my children, then, two and and five, were with a twelve year-old babysitter, my fireplace erupted in flames. I heard the town's fire siren howl and casually told gathered guests from out of town that this happened all the time in our little town. Only moments later, I received a call from one of the local firefighters of my very, very small town letting me know that he was at my house.
My reaction: (after checking on my kids and installing them somewhere safe) Well, there is really nothing for me to do now. Everything is all right. I can't have the fireplace cleaned until tomorrow, and no one seems upset. Hell, I am going back to my evening event.
I was driving to some friends' house out by the coast, on roads that were completely obscured by a fog as thick and white as sheared wool. My two sons, three and six, were in the car. Although I had been to these friends' home before, never had I gone at night and never when visibility was so poor. I missed the turn to their long, winding driveway and instead turned into another. Where I drove straight into a ditch dug in the middle of a yard. With two wheels off the ground, I could not get my Volvo to reverse and, stuck in the dark and fog, in the middle of Bumfuck Nowhere, with two young children in tow, I had to knock on the door of a strange house for help. The man within, although surly looking, was not, in fact, a serial killer, and he helped me get my car out of the ditch and then pointed me on my way.
My reaction: (upon arriving at my friends') Well, I'm awfully glad he was home. Are there any baked potatoes left?
The real reason I have so little room for regret is because of my advanced skills at worrying about the future. I am really a forward thinking person. If you enjoyed this, I will soon write you a helpful list of concerns you might consider having based on extraneous events that happen in your life.