If Only...

Two words so many of us say. If only I had been born rich instead of handsome. If only I would win the lottery. If only I didn't have to work so much. If only I had done this instead of that. I was one who used to think about the last one quite a bit. I think back to when I was in high school and if I had made different choices back then, what my life would have become. I think back to when I was in college, and what I might have done differently and how my life might have turned out. I think back to when I worked for my Dad and if I had stuck it out, where I would be now. If only I knew then what I know now, And when I do this "If Only" thinking I always come up with the same two observations.

The first is "You can't go back and change the past, you can only change the future."
This basically means what is done is done, you can fix any damage which was done, but you can't change the decisions you made. We all have to learn from our mistakes. One must remember that the decisions we made at the time we made them, were the right decisions then. We don't have crystal balls we can look into to see the future, so we have to make decisions based on what we know then, and try to guess the results. Sometimes we guess right, sometimes we guess wrong.

Staying at my Dad's grocery store for example, if I stayed, it would have get some peace in certain parts of the family, it would have kept my father "alive" in a theoretical sense, although I feel I do that now by working to keep the little house on the lake in the family. But at the time it was the right thing to do. My marriage was falling apart, I had a drinking problem, I did things I shouldn't do. I would have only gotten worse as time went on, and probably run the business into the ground. (Of course who knew my marriage would end anyway) So that was the right decision to be made at the time. Now, if I could go back, knowing what I know now, I would have kept the store. I have learned alot about running a business, I know where the mistakes were made, I know what I could have done to be successful. But I can't go back, I can't bring the knowledge I now possess back to that time.

The second observation I always come up with is I made the choices I did and right now I am happier than I have been. I have a good life, yes, it is a struggle every day to make ends meet, it is hard, but now I feel I have a reason to go on. For those of you who remember my old AOL journal, you know what I was like then. (I'm thinking about digging out some of the old posts and reposting them) I had no will, no drive, no desire. That all changed when Tonya came into my life. She loves me more than anything, and I her. I look forward to getting up each day and coming home each night to be with her. I tell her all the time how I can picture growing old with her. She loves this little house on the lake, she knows what it means to me, and she feels the same as I do.

Which means she works her ass off too so we can keep it. If I hadn't have made the decisions I made in the past I would never have met her and that would be a very sad thing.
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