Who Doesn't Want a Do-Over?

Bill Abbate

Have you ever wished you could go back in time and do something over with the knowledge and insight you have now? Wouldn’t that be great? It could change your entire life!

Is it possible there is a way to get a do-over? Let’s find the answer to that question.

Are do-overs possible?

There are many things in life I wish I could do over again. Most of mine come from regrets. I would love to go back in time and change my approach to being a husband and father early on. Then there were the years spent traveling and working like a maniac. If I could only let my younger self know I worried far too much. 99.99% of the worries I carried, sometimes for years, never happened.

But alas, we can’t go back in time, so how can we do anything over again? There seems to be no chance for a do-over for many things in life. Or is there?

While we can’t unwind time, we can do something now to create a different future. By acting in the present, we can mitigate many, if not all, issues from our past.

The problem with getting a real do-over is the impossibility of returning to an earlier time. Once time has passed, it is over, done, gone, fini. Fortunately, things like forgiveness, fresh starts, and second chances can change the effects of past results in the present and future. You can view these as a do-over of sorts.

“The chance to do it over again is called now.” J.R. Rim (1989-present)

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

A few years before, I was promoted to manager and routinely worked at least 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.

“You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.” Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)

Looking back, I see how blind I was. Had Charlotte not almost divorced me, who knows what would have happened? It wasn’t that I didn’t love them. I thought I was showing my love by being a good provider. I had placed providing ahead of being a husband and a father. That is never a good idea!

I am thankful Charlotte forgave me and gave me a second chance. We had many good years and a great marriage afterward. A few months after our 32nd anniversary Charlotte died from cancer. She was far too young at only 51 years of age.

Where do you wish you could have a do-over?

If you could have a do-over, what would it be? Something that happened in a relationship, in your job, or in some part of your childhood? Maybe it happened when you were a young adult, in your education, with your diet, exercise, or other health habits. There are many areas of life and past events where practically all of us wish to have a do-over.

We always wish we could get a do-over when we carry a regret in life. I regret how I had ignored my wife and daughter at the beginning of our marriage. I regret having such a crazy childhood, always moving, and not making friends because it hurt too much to leave them every time we moved. I regret not adequately attending to my education earlier, wasting so much money during my life, and a hundred other things.

What regrets do you have?

While none of us can go back in time, we can act on what we know now. Why not look for a fresh start? In fact, why not create a fresh start now? Today. This very minute. What is there to keep you from doing that? Look in the mirror and 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 ASAP! This act alone can lift a burden and help you move on with something fresh and new. They may or may not forgive you, but how will you know if you never ask? The only exception is if it puts you in harm’s way. Still, try to forgive them in your heart and mind to lift the burden of unforgiveness from your life.

“Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim–letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.” C.R. Strahan (1961-present)

Do you need a second chance?

Do you need someone to give you a second chance? Or do you need to give one to yourself? While you can’t make anyone give you a second chance, there is always a possibility when you are willing to make the changes needed in your heart first. Real change always starts with us before others give or receive it.

Don’t wait for another second. If there is a possibility of getting a second chance, take it. As was once said:

“[There is] no time like the present, a thousand unforeseen circumstances may interrupt you at a future time.” John Trusler (1735–1820)

If the second chance you need is something you can do, that depends on you, why not start now? If you need a second chance at school, take it by starting now, and don’t put it off. If you had a failed marriage the first time and want a spouse to share life with, do what is right and proper, and become that person someone would want to spend their life with. Start working on yourself now, and finding that spouse will be no problem when you are ready.

About two years after Charlotte’s death, I longed to have someone in my life again. Soon after, I was blessed to find Jane. We married within the next two years. I am taking everything I learned in my 32-year marriage and bringing it forth into the present. You never stop learning in a good marriage, by the way!

I have always intended to make our marriage the best that is possible! After 15 years, it is going better than I could have dreamed. I often tell people I am 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 into words!

Final thoughts

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

You can create anything in your life if your desire is strong enough. Why not do something 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 (1858–1919)

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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