Sunday, June 05, 2016

Running Off a Cliff and Out of Time Itself

As usual, I approach questions like this with great perplexity: "What would you tell your younger self?"

Although I would kind of like to tell that young fella to zig at some junctures instead of zagging, one has to be careful. Assuming that you like yourself and your life now, would you really want to mess with this outcome? Because you don't know how one small course correction could have altered your life, and you may not then have become the person you are in the place that you now are. Do yo really want to mess with that?

Assuming that such a meetup could occur, I am stymied by the logistics. If my two selves could meet, I can well imagine the younger and good looking self to take one look at this older, decrepit self and run screaming in horror over the nearest cliff. And then my older self would never have had a chance to exist, and we would have a paradox in time.

Would my older self simply vaporize as the younger self plummeted to his doom? Depending on the timing, my two daughters would never have existed and neither would the grandkids. That makes me sorrowful now although neither I nor my scions would have been here to miss ourselves. (Curse you KG; you are making my head hurt.)

Although like everyone else, or so I imagine about everyone else, I replay the past with some regularity, but I am afraid that it never changes. Neither do I except in glacial slowness. For I both am and am not the man that I used to be. I am a conundrum.

"It's a wonderful life." Oops, bad allusion.

19 comments:

Ginger said...

Loved this!!! Thanks for the humor and insight of it.

Shammickite said...

Hmmmm I definitely have some advice to the younger me, for instance travel the world while you have the energy and definitely don't get married far too young to the first guy who looks like a good bet, but then, as you say, I would be a different person, my children and/or grandchildren would be different or might not exist at all, and that would be a shame as I quite like them the way they are!

Marie Smith said...

Good analysis and food for thought. Would mistakes be bad enough to warrant never having lived. Some I guess might, but the average persons, I think not. Such a decision!

Then there's the theory of the expanding universe and all the alternate realities that exist regarding choices. Mind boggling!

Kay said...

What fun! Now you've got me thinking. There are things that I like to think I would have done differently, but you're right... it may have changed who I am now. Coincidentally I just read a book about time travel where the hero and heroine wonder what would have happened if they bumped into an older version of themselves... or discovered they had died.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Thought there is A LOT that I wish I had done differently as a younger man...I am not sure I would change a thing. I think everything (the good and the bad) shapes who we are. Some of my most valuable lessons were learned after I had made some terrible mistakes in life...

Mara said...

I think the word 'relax' might be more than enough if I were talking to my younger self. But, since it most likely is never going to happen, I might as well tell myself now: relax.

It feels good!

Jim Flack said...

If I could change anything, I would have finished "teacher college" and went into teaching much earlier. Otherwise, I like my the way my life has turned out. I am sorry that my time with my wife was cut short, but knowing she loved me even as she drew her last breath brings me great comfort. I, like you, could have zigged instead of zagged, but life turned out wonderful with the path I took. I married the right woman all those years ago, after a couple of near mistakes, and that made all the difference! Without her encouragement and sometimes a "behind kick" things might have been a whole lot different!

altar ego said...

I completely resonate with your line of thinking here. In an episode of Chicago PD a young detective asked an older detective about regretting mistakes. The experienced man replied that if he hadn't made the mistakes that he DID make, he simply would have made different mistakes. Very similar to your perspective here, and refreshing. A different choice would lead to a different road. Not better, not worse, just different.

Country Gal said...

Like my hubs and I always say if it wasn't for our shady pasts we would never of met , both of us went through hard marriages , losses and what not and we both believe it was all that , that had brought us together , neither of us has changed much from our younger selves just a little wiser , more tolerant and find happiness in the simple things now , oh and a few more aches and pains all part of the process. Good post . Thanks for sharing , Have a good week !

Mary Gilmour said...

Yes, but what if Younger self did NOT jump off a cliff but instead quizzed you on what he had yet to meet. What if you coached him to meet all the challenges better than you had done. What if .............. then who would you be. And would your back hurt? I would love to go back to my younger self and deliver a lecture about posture, stretching and not being a big show-off by lifting more than she should.
Love time conundrums.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

I don't think my young self would have listened, anyway! :-(

Ruth said...

I am laughing at the image of your young self meeting your older self! You sound very contented with the way your life turned out and that is admirable.

Chicken said...

Hi AC. Love this post. I think about stuff like this ALL the time. Too much, probably. I love the idea that time and space are very fluid and we may be here, in this consciousness, but we may also be somewhere else in our lives the next plane over and maybe we can visit our former and future selves and influence outcomes. I'm not sure what would happen to your future self, though. Can there be seperate realities on all the planes? Can you live out your life one way on this plane and be on a totally different path on that one? I read a lot of Omni magazine stories back in the day.

shortybear said...

enjoyed this

LL Cool Joe said...

My younger self would love to see my older self to know that I'm still alive. I was a anxious kid, full of worries, I think I'd be shocked by how I look, but pleased I have two daughters, and that I'm still being me.

Mage said...

My now self would suggest I not smoke. My younger self would ignore me. Ah well.

Im Downtown said...

Too funny - a clever take on this writing prompt, for certain!

Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines said...

I have often wished that I could go back in time and erase bad choices that I made in my younger years. Smoking is one that really would have changed my life now. At least I did finally quit, but I am sure not soon enough. But you are right...any little change would alter who we are today.

KGMom said...

Seems as though your readers enjoyed your zigging and zagging...so, I will take your curses.