|If it weren't impossible, I would go back to being eighteen again. But, I would only go back to that age if I could take with me the knowledge, maturity, and wisdom accumulated in these past thirty years. I would never again want to be as naive, cocky, immature, sheltered, and shortsighted as I was the first time I was eighteen.
I watch young people today and think how I would love to be able to look at life again through their optimistic, unjaded eyes. But only if that optimism were tempered by the ability to judge and assess people and situations which I have gleaned from my experiences in this much longer life.
If I could do it over, I would not be talked out of pursuing my dreams of becoming a writer. I would not allow myself to be talked into instead taking the safe road of becoming a teacher just to have something sure to "fall back on".
I would travel the world, listening, seeing, tasting, and touching everything. I would hike through rough country and climb mountains. I would sail the Atlantic and the Pacific, and I would soar through the skies in all manner of flying machine. I would visit theatres, libraries, and art galleries all over the world and fill my mind with all the ideas and images I find in those places.
The Nile and the Euphrates would wash and soothe my tired feet. The Great Sphinx and the Pyramids would cloak me in their mammoth shadows. Trade bead sellers in Ghana and Kenya would know me by sight and by name, for my hair and my body would be made beautiful by their wares.
And I would write constantly of my rich, rich experiences. My world would be filled with other scribes, artists, and thinkers of all creeds, cultures, and colors. I would be able to freely and actively pursue all of my varied interests without feeling guilty about taking the time from family, friends, and other obligations to do so. There would be forty-eight hours to my days so that I could fit everything in.
If I could do it again, I would take several years to live completely on my own after leaving my father's house. I would get to know me before trying to get someone else to know me. I would marry late, if at all. I probably would not marry, if I had it to do again, opting instead for serial monogamy.
I might have one child- much later in that life- but it would have to be with a man who loved himself and had his own agenda; a man who could understand my need to be alone for stretches of time, and who wouldn't take my need to be separate from him as a personal affront to his ego or as my intentionally ignoring his person.
This musing is not to be taken as the voice of dissatisfaction; I am fairly content with the life I currently lead. I really wouldn't trade it for another. I am well educated, gainfully employed, a parent three times over, and a reasonably happy individual. But since I was asked to take a trip down this path and to bring something back from my journey, these are the things that I would choose to do differently if it were possible to go back and do them.