I think many of us are prone to looking in the metaphoric rearview mirror, wondering if what we’ve done is right. And I’ve realized recently that unless what we see in that mirror reflects an unquestionably good decision, looking back doesn’t really do us a whole heck of a lot of good.
I broke my ankle last year. Decided about a year after the break and initial surgery that the hardware in my ankle was causing me enough pain that I wanted to go through another surgery to take it out. And two months after that surgery, here I am, ankle broken again. This time, I’m working with an ankle specialist who is going to operate yet again on Monday, basically to implant the same hardware I just had taken out, along with some fancy additions. Should I have seen the ankle specialist before I decided to take that hardware out a few months ago? Maybe. Would my ankle have stayed in one piece if I’d left it in? Maybe.
But asking that question is a pretty stupid exercise for one reason. Whatever thoughts I may be having, my freakin’ ankle is STILL broken, so I might as well move forward and deal with that reality.
And I think that goes for most decisions in life that we regret. Because here’s the bottom line: as far as I know, nobody has really managed to create a time machine that actually works, so we can’t go back and make that change we may be fantasizing about. We spend so much time looking back and thinking about the decisions we’ve made that may have taken us in a less than ideal direction, when we should spend our time concentrating on the present and the future, because until someone perfects that time machine, this is the only place where our efforts can really make any difference.