Recently, over coffee, friends and I discussed our being of a certain age in this youth-oriented society. Soon the invariable question came: Would we really want to be 30 again?
Amazingly, none of us wanted to go back in time. Oh, sure, we miss the figures we had then and the natural hair color and wish we had done a few things differently. But all of us are content with our present age. And all agreed we wouldn’t want to go through those earlier years again unless we could go through them knowing what we know now. We laughed at that concept. After all, our present understanding has come from the experiences we waded through then.
We talked about our young years—raising children, facing unrealistic expectations from ourselves and others, getting established in our careers. And we talked about the national traumas we had witnessed—the Cuban Missile Crisis, which threatened to plunge us into World War III, the assassinations of President John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert Kennedy, the Civil Rights struggle, Vietnam. The list and the memories grew by the minute.
But even as we revisited those long-ago events, we pondered what we had learned from them. Soon we confessed what we wish we could do over. One woman would have taken her health issues more seriously. Another would have been more forgiving toward her sister. Another regretted spending so much time housecleaning instead of playing with her children.
Yes, we wished we could re-do and un-do some decisions. But even those regrets come from our mature understanding of life and ourselves now. And perhaps we were incapable of such understanding then.
How about you? Would you really want to be 30 again?