In a Do-Over World

On our last road trip to the beach, David asked me what I would do differently with my life, if I were offered a complete Do-Over. This is one of our favorite games, sandwiched between “what would you do if you won 10 million dollars” and “where do you think we’ll all be in 10 years”.

If I woke up tomorrow and I was back in high school, what would I do differently?

I can think of a lot of little errors I’d like to correct: not skipping the majority of my freshman & junior years to hang out with friends in pool halls, not losing my virginity to a boy who showed his affection with his fists, and not being so afraid of rejection to tell David that I fell in love with him the second my 13-year old eyes saw him loping across the front lawn of Greenville High School with a sketchpad in his arm.

I like to think I’d study more, smoke less pot, and say no to a few more boys. I like to think I’d have gone to college instead of giving up on that dream so easily and convincing myself that my family couldn’t afford it. Teenagers with less money than I went on to college, and I’d have loved to be one of them. Maybe I’d be a music teacher, or a writer who took herself seriously from the get-go.

I like to think that when David did ask 17-year-old Heather out, the different choices I would have made before would have kept me from being so obsessively clingy that I scared him off. Maybe we would have stayed together and avoided the devastating relationships & addictions that we both went through before we found one another again. In that Do-Over World, he’d have gone to college too, and armed with his amazing talent, an art degree & the confidence that a degree would have given him, his work would be world-renowned by now.

Maybe we’d have married long ago, 14 years ago when we first whispered “I love you” to each other. Maybe we’d have these same kids, who look and act so remarkably like David that it’s easy to forget, in the long spans of time between child support checks and visitation, that they aren’t his biological kids. Maybe my children’s’ births would have gone differently in that Do-Over World, allowing us to have had the third child that we want so badly.

But then again… so many bad things could have happened too, if we did it all again. Maybe the Universe would have spun a different web for our lives and not a single thing would be similar to the life we share now? Maybe we went through the hard and painful times so that we could learn to appreciate the value of the good and fruitful times?

And in the end, no matter how many times we play the game and weave different Do-Over World possibilities for our lives, I always come to the same conclusion. I wouldn’t change a single thing about the path I’ve walked and the place I’ve landed. Every error and mistake, every good and bad choice, brought us here… and it’s a really nice place to be.

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I'm Heather, a married mama of two teen girls, a stillborn baby girl (7/1/12), and a sweet and wild preschool girl (4/2/14). I've been blogging at The Destiny Manifest since 2001. I like to write about appreciating all of the beautiful little things that surround us, particularly in the face of grief, infant loss and mental health issues. Every day is an adventure!

Latest posts by Heather O. (see all)

  • My husband and I play those do-over games too. First on my list is always my 1st husband and the timing of the daughter we share. We left home and moved in together when I was only 17, and a few months later, I was pregnant. I was a senior in high school and ended up quitting over my English teacher who had no sympathy for horrible morning sickness that always hit during her class.

    I quit in February, would have graduated in May.

    In April, I received a letter from Clemson University, my 1st choice, stating I had a been granted a full academic scholarship, which if course, was no longer possible.

    I often wish pregnancy had come later, I’ve never stopped wishing ud lied and told him she wasn’t his. That she’d waited for me to find the man I’ve been with the last 15 years, that ended up helping me raise her anyway.

    When it’s all said and done tho, I wouldn’t want to change HER, though, and I’m afraid all those do-overs would.

    By the way, you wouldn’t happen to be from SC, would you? I didn’t go there myself, but I grew up in Greenville, SC until I was 12 and there’s a Greenville High there. Just curious.

  • Hi Rebecca! Thank you for coming over… I hope you’ll pull up a comfy seat and stay awhile! 🙂

  • I know just what you mean about not wanting to change your daughter. I
    probably *would* want to change more things about my past, but I’m
    always stopped in my tracks by the thought that my kids wouldn’t be
    here, or wouldn’t be the same. They drive me nuts sometimes, but I
    wouldn’t want to make a change that might change them.

    I am
    from SC! I grew up in Greenville and David & I both graduated from
    Greenville High. Now we live just outside of town, out towards Easley.