For better or worse, the things I’ve done (both good and bad) have shaped me into the person I am today. While far from perfect, my life has turned out pretty good and certainly much better than I ever expected. In fact, those who know my story consider the fact I’m even alive today to be downright miraculous.
Yes, I made a lot of poor choices and stupid mistakes. I’m a slow learner and tend to try things without bothering to research my options, read the instruction manual, or heed the advice of those who’ve gone before me. Even so, considering the way things have turned out, I have no regrets. But given the opportunity, there are a few things I would definitely do differently knowing what I know now.
I’d leave cigarettes alone. I started smoking when I was fifteen years old and continued the habit into my forties. Never mind the money I spent on cigarettes and smoking accessories. I strongly suspect my decades of smoking played a large role in the problems I’m now having with my eyes.
I’d spend less than I earned. Overspending is a bad habit that I acquired very early in life. No matter how much money I had, it was never enough. Instead of saving for things I wanted, I borrowed, and eventually got in way over my head. It’s hard to imagine how different my life would be now if I’d learned to save and to spend less than I earned. Fortunately, I eventually got out of debt and learned to live within my means.
I’d say “no” more. In my youth (say, up to age 45), there were lots of occasions when I said “yes” because I wanted to be liked or to fit in with the group. I did a lot of things in my late teens and twenties that I definitely wouldn’t do today. More often than not, going along didn’t make anyone think more of me–including myself.
I’d exercise regularly. Until I reached forty, my activity level was high enough that I could eat more or less whatever I wanted without having to worry about gaining weight. Throughout my twenties I danced my ass off at the gay bar six nights a week. Later, yard work kept me relatively slim and trim. Today I have a hard time making myself exercise because it has rarely been a part of my routine.
Of course, I can never go back, and if I could, it’s hard to know the unintended consequences these do-overs might produce. My struggles and failures are as much a part of who I am as any successes and accomplishments. And doing everything right the first time would give me a lot less to write about here on…
My Glass House