How Can You Use the Desire for a Do-Over in Life?

Bill Abbate

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Do you ever wish you had the opportunity to go back in time and do something over again in a different and better way? I have many things in life I wish I could do-over. My approach to education when I was younger would benefit from a do-over. My first few years as a husband could use a do-over.

The years I spent traveling and working so crazy hard could use a do-over, especially with all I know now. Yet, there seems to be little or no chance for a do-over for too many things in life. Or is there? While we can't unwind time, we can do something now and in the future.

The problem with wanting a do-over is the impossibility of going back in time. Once time has passed, what was done is done. It is over, finished, gone. Fortunately, there are things like forgiveness that have the potential to change the past in the present. What has happened in the past can be the impetus for finding forgiveness or a second chance. Each is a kind of do-over.

"The chance to do it over again is called now." J.R. Rim

For example, after seven years of marriage, Charlotte, my first wife, and I went through a rough patch in our lives. Our daughter was only five. Around that time, she had divorce papers served on me at work. She later told me she never intended to divorce me, but I left her with no other recourse. I needed a wake-up call badly.

A couple of years before, I was promoted to manager and routinely worked a minimum of 60 to 80 hours, often 6 or 7 days a week. At the end of each day, I was exhausted. I had practically stopped communicating with Charlotte and my daughter.

Looking back, I now see I was totally blind. If Charlotte had not almost divorced me, who knows what would have happened. I certainly would have destroyed my marriage and relationship with my daughter, both of which would have devastated my life. It wasn't that I didn't love them. I thought I was showing my love to them by being a good provider. I had placed providing for them ahead of being a husband and a father. That is never a good idea!

I am thankful to this day Charlotte forgave me and gave me a second chance. We had many good years and a great marriage afterward. Charlotte died from cancer at the young age of 51, soon after our 32nd wedding anniversary.

Where in your life do you wish you could have a do-over?

Is it something that happened in a relationship, in your job, some part of your childhood? Maybe it happened when you were a young adult, in your education, or had something to do with your diet, exercise, or other health habits? There are many areas of life and past events in our lives where practically all of us wish we could have a do-over. I know of no one immune to the desire of having a do-over at some point.

One thing I have noticed about the areas I wish I could get a do-over is regret. I regret the way I had ignored my wife and daughter at the beginning of our marriage. I regret having such a crazy childhood, always moving, not making friends because it hurt too much to leave them every time we moved. I regret not adequately attending to my education at an earlier age, wasting so much money during my life, and a hundred other things.

What regrets do you have in life?

While none of us can go back in time, we can act on what we know now. The effect of a do-over would be the same as going back in time and getting a fresh start on whatever it was. Why not create a fresh start now? Today. This very minute. What is to stop you from doing that? Take a look in the mirror, and you will see the only person who can stop you.

Do you need forgiveness?

Is there someone you need to forgive or ask for forgiveness? Do it! A burden will be lifted that can help you move on in life with something fresh and new. They may or may not forgive you, but how will you know if you never ask?

"You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again." Benjamin Franklin

Do you need a second chance?

Do you need someone to give you a second chance? Or do you need to give yourself a second chance? While you can't make anyone give you a second chance, there is always a possibility when you are willing to first make the changes needed in your own heart. Real change always starts with us before it is given or received by others. If they are willing to give you a second chance, start today, don't put it off a second longer, as was once said:

"[There is] no time like the present, a thousand unforeseen circumstances may interrupt you at a future time." John Trusler

If the second chance you need is entirely dependent on you, why not start now? If you need a second chance at school, take it now and don't put it off. Give yourself a second chance. If you had a failed marriage the first time around and in your heart want a spouse to share life with, do what is right and proper and find that spouse. About two years after Charlotte's death, I began longing for someone to share my life. Soon after, I found and was blessed with Jane. This second time around I am taking everything I learned in my 32-year marriage and bringing it forth. I have always intended to make this the best marriage possible! After 12 years, it is going better than I could have dreamed. I often tell people I have been blessed to have had two amazing women in my life. I can imagine no one better to be with than Jane! I love and appreciate her so much it is difficult to put it into words!

Final words

If you want the closest thing you can get to a do-over, a fresh start, why not examine your regrets. Find something you wish you could do over, seek forgiveness or a second chance, even if it is from yourself, and begin anew.

You can create anything in your life if you desire it enough. Why not do something that you will later be happy about, without any regrets or need for forgiveness or a second chance?

Heed the words of one of my favorite presidents:

"In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing." Theodore Roosevelt

Why not act now? What do you have to lose!

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA
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