On regrets, time travel, and finding my way

I have fallen in love with a TV show. It’s on DVD now, and its actual run ended in late 2011 on Canadian television. It’s called Being Erica, and the premise is of a woman in her 30s whose life is not going how she hoped. After an incredibly bad day, Erica meets a man, Dr. Tom, who says that he is a therapist. Little does she know that she will soon have the opportunity to address past regrets by going back in time.

This time travel isn’t really about rewriting personal history, although that happens to a small degree. What Erica gains most through her travels and sessions is perspective and confidence. She has the opportunity to stand up for herself in situations where she didn’t, and takes that into her present life. Erica has the opportunity for “do overs.”

My path has turned out differently than I once hoped. Like Erica, I am in my early 30s.  May marks 10 years since I graduated from college. I have tried out different jobs and dreams throughout the years.  Two years ago, I was set on starting a new branch of a nonprofit organization in my hometown. Now, I am living in my hometown again, but my plans have changed, and are actively changing.

I’m currently in an anniversary period. At this time last year, I was in a deep depression and spiraling towards crisis. There are plenty of things that I wish I’d said or done differently. I wish that I would have advocated for myself more, and not backed down in moments where I did try to express what I was experiencing. My “do-overs” are more like role play, like “she said this, and now I would say….”  In doing so,  I reclaim parts of myself.

In her memoir Wild, Cheryl Strayed wrote, “What if I was sorry, but if I could go back in time I wouldn’t do anything differently than I had done?… What if yes was the right answer instead of no? What if what made me do all those things everyone thought I shouldn’t have done was what also had got me here?”
Personally, there are things I would say or do (mostly say) if I could go back. What happened in the past has certainly contributed to who I am today. Even with regrets, I am also grateful for the collage of my experiences. I am skeptical about the concept of fate; I prefer the idea that there are many paths and that it’s a matter of choice.

Unlike Erica, I cannot gain perspective and confidence by literally going back in time. Would I go back if it meant lessening the deep sadness that I experience at times? Perhaps. Nonetheless, my healing journey continues. I am working to strike down old habits so that I don’t find myself in similar situations. I am actively learning from my experiences. I am doing my best to move through and accept my emotional pain. I have heard that those who have spent time in deep darkness also have incredible capacity for strength, the ability to hold the light fiercely and steadily. I hold the light so I may find my own way.


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