regrets

Living like a Time Traveler Takes the Stress Away

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I’m in love with this recent “secret” shared on PostSecret.

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“Sometimes I pretend I’ve time traveled to the past and am re-living my life. Time with friends and family suddenly becomes a gift, a chance to be with them once more before they’re gone again.”

 

I have a feeling whoever wrote was inspired by the movie ABOUT TIME. The film is about a guy who discovers he can travel back in time to any moment in his life and change whatever he wants. By the end of the film he’s older, married, has two children, and is traveling back in time a whole lot less.

This is what he says in a closing monologue:

 

“The truth is, I now don't travel back at all, not even for a day. I just try to live everyday as if I have deliberately come back to this one day, to enjoy it... As if it was the full, final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life.”

 

It’s a really beautiful thought and it’s so close to a concept I just read about in Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. 

Frankl, a psychologist who survived 5 years in Nazi concentration camp, puts it this way:

 

“Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now.”

 

There are several passages in this book I can confidently claim CHANGED MY FREAKING LIFE but this one is probably at the top of the list.

I’ve already found myself doing this little thought experiment before going to lunch with friends. “Ok. What if I’ve already had this lunch and I’m getting to do it again to fix all my mistakes. What mistakes would I make that need correcting? I probably would have spent too much time looking at my phone. I could be rude to the people working. I could be a terrible listener and miss opportunities to be more supportive. But not this time around!”

Time travel has always been a big deal for me. In college I went through a strange and awful depression where I got really obsessed with regrets and wished I could have a time machine to fix all my garbage mistakes.

It was not a healthy time for me.

 
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I have a tattoo of the flux capacitor from Back to the Future (it’s what makes time travel possible) on my leg. I got it several years ago because I wanted to remind myself that I don’t ever get a do over. You’ve got to get it right the first time because that’s all you have.

But now I’ve got Frankl in my head telling me to live like a time travel and make my life better.