Rebooting the program of life!

Interesting conundrum!

Some of you may have noticed a reply left by Marg (aka MargfromTassie) to my post yesterday. In part, this is what Marg wrote:

By the way Paul, you’re 71 now. If you reverse it, and were 17 again – what is the major thing, if any, that you would do differently with your life – knowing what you know now? ( or is this just too difficult?)

In turn, I replied:

What would I do differently? What a fascinating question. Rather than dump the first thing that comes to mind, let me reflect on the question for a while. Who knows? Maybe make it tomorrow’s post?

At first it was very clear what I would have done differently. Namely, had I had the awareness at a much earlier age of the psychological and emotional impact of my father’s death back in December 1956, just six weeks after I had had my twelfth birthday, I would have been a much more emotionally settled person and, in time, a better father to my son and daughter.

Then almost immediately I recognised the conundrum in what I was thinking.

For that subconscious fear of rejection that I carried all the way through my life until 2007, when a local Devon psychotherapist exposed that fear (thank you, J), had both strong positive and negative consequences. The positive consequences far outweighed the negative ones, that were mainly to do with uncertainty over relationships with women.

Because if my previous wife hadn’t announced in December 2006, fifty years to the day after my father died, that she had been unfaithful, I wouldn’t have sought J’s help, wouldn’t have gained the self-awareness that is so vital for all of us, and wouldn’t have met Jean in December 2007. And that has been a positive consequence of unimaginably beautiful measure.

So dear Marg, thank you for your fascinating question but, in the end, if I had the chance I would repeat my life exactly the same way again.

With apologies to any readers who have regarded the above as excessive navel-gazing! But my justification for writing this is to underline the supreme importance of knowing oneself!

21 thoughts on “Rebooting the program of life!

      1. Ah! Thanks John. The Greek language is a nightmare to learn! That was my experience after living for a number of years in the Greek part of Cyprus. The Turkish language seemed so much easier in contrast.

  1. Oh Paul – Thanks so much for sharing your personal reflections. It did briefly occur to me that, given the role of chance events in any person’s life, the contented life that you so obviously live now with Jean may not have happened but for previous events and choices – if you know what I mean. So, even if we could change any one thing in the past, it could lead to a very different life ( like that movie Sliding Doors). Also, at any given stage we never really know how life is going to turn out and what may seem bad or good at the time may pan out differently in the long run. Life and events change us and we are quite different people from when we were young, so I guess it was rather a pointless question.
    Sometimes, like many parents and older people, I try to share my ‘wisdom’, lessons and insights acquired over a lifetime with my children and their friends, all in their 20’s. Hopefully they take more on board than they appear to, but as the saying goes – “you can’t put an old head on young shoulders”. They have their own experience of life and the world they live in is very different from the one I grew up in. I guess that the most important thing, at any stage in life, is to set some time aside for reflection, contemplation and appraisal. And, as you suggest, “knowing oneself” is a critically important part of that.

  2. A Swedish composer, Monica Forsberg wrote a song that says:

    “To relive your youth with your life experiences, would make you miss too much of its delightfulness”

    And I could not agree more.

  3. Beautiful reflections Paul. My mind picked up similar threads … Even although I sometimes think if I had gone to art school instead of Uni I would have had a very different life … I have no regrets. I doubt I would be here in the Staes and married to a yank!

    1. Likewise, there is no doubt in my mind that given different circumstances I too would not be living here in Oregon. Spins of countless wheels for all of us! Love hearing from you, Val.

  4. The problem with redoing one’s life, is that one has to intensely dislike the life one had before.

    Take an example: you have an excellent relationship with Jean. However, that would not have happened if you had not reacted negatively enough to your preceding wife’s “unfaithfulness”.
    So bad brought better.
    Without bad, no better.

  5. Not one thing Paul, for as the butterfly wings beat I may well not have some of the wonderful people I now have in my life by changing anything unfortunate in the past. I have no regrets anyway mind you, and think I am very fortunate to feel that way.

    – sonmi.u.t.C

  6. “What is the major thing, if any, that you would do differently with your life?”

    Well, come to think of it, I once wasted a huge amount of time trying to get a girl interested in me, but had to finally give up. But, then again, it might have been because she saw through me that, my urgent interests, might have been quite short-term interests.

    You might ask: “Is this a major thing in life?” You bet, and no one else that tells you differently knows what life is all about… it is all about those huge small things. 🙂

  7. Another reminder here Paul that sometimes it’s through our challenges and traumas we grow stronger, and it opens up a whole new horizon to a brighter world…

    I would not change a thing along my path.. Warts and ALL.. for it brought me to who I am today.. without those hiccups and patches of turbulence.. Would I have found my Inner Peace?, who knows.. But It made me understand and cherish those around me more, and enjoy each step of our journey.

    Blessings Sue

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