This Thanksgiving, Think About a Do-Over

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and as usual, we find ourselves thinking about what we’re thankful for. At this stage in my life, I think about what I’m thankful for on a daily basis, so the meaning of Thanksgiving isn’t special any more. I’m on the other side of 50 and thankfulness has now become an everyday acknowledgment.

I’m thankful I got out of bed this morning with no more aches than I had yesterday. I’m thankful for this lousy, I mean great job that I have only a few more years to be thankful for. I’m thankful that I get to eat bacon and eggs every morning with a delicious cup of coffee made from the best coffee machine I’ve ever owned. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

Don’t worry, I didn’t forgot about the big things that we’re expected to be thankful for, family and friends, and health.

Somewhere in between mulling over another Thanksgiving menu and adding another task to my “when am I going to get these things done” list, I got to thinking about what I would have done differently if I got a do-over.

Some may think about treating certain people better, or taking a different road in their career or deciding not to marry. If you could live your life over, knowing what you do now, what would you do differently? Really examine your life and contemplate every decision you’re going to make. These would be major decisions that would alter the course of your life. I share with you my list below.

For as long as I could remember, I wanted to know how to blast out a whistle. I’m not talking about the pucker up and whistle a tune kind of whistle. I do that all the time. I want the finger-less, roll up your tongue, loud whistle that you use to call your dog or your kids. I never had a dog, so maybe that’s why I never learned, or maybe my mouth and teeth aren’t shaped right. I know I could probably learn to do this now if I had the time to find a You Tube video. But at my age, what would I whistle at? My kids are grown and gone, and I don’t have a dog. My cat would give me an aloof stare and continue on its path of doing whatever he wants to.

My sister-in-law could do this, and used it to round up her five kids for dinner. You should have seen the kids’ ears perk up when they heard it, just like a German shepherd ready for chow time.

Another thing I would have learned to do is ride a horse. Ever since my father told me how much your muscles would hurt the next day, I shied away from the adventure. It’s too bad that I developed that fear because I think I would have really liked the activity. I feel a great sense of freedom when I ride my bike. I imagine that being on a horse would be ten times greater. And you look really cool when filmed in slow motion riding on the beach. I know I wouldn’t have been a 10, but I think I could have pulled off a strong 7.5. At this age, it’s not the pain I’m afraid of any more; it’s what am I going to break when I fall off.

That sense of freedom is probably why I would have done the next thing on my list. I would have bought land. It wouldn’t matter if I was planning to build a house, I would be able to claim a piece of property as mine, just like the early American settlers.

When I met someone. I could weave into the conversation the bit about owning a piece of land. Whenever I heard someone say that, I envied them. They sounded savvy about money and knew how to plan for the future. I’m sure owning land would have made me feel secure. No matter what happened in life, I could always say, I own some land.

High school shouldn’t really be considered in this endeavor because you’re not really an adult, but in this case, I have to. Doing this would have changed my approach to taking chances in the future. I would have tried out for the tennis team. Many years ago, you had to try out for a team. Not everyone made it onto the team, like today, and believe or not, horrors of all horrors, not everyone got trophies. I thought I was a pretty good tennis player, but now I’ll never know. I was much too afraid of failing, and as a result never learned to compete. The fear of failing has traveled with me throughout my life getting in the way of trying new things. I’ve led a play it safe kind of life.

Finally, I would have changed my major from English to computer science in college, knowing how easy to find a job it would have been. Although I admit, this would have been extremely difficult since this was the only subject I earned, yes earned, a D in. Those were the days of producing a program on punch cards. Each line of the program had a card that the computer would read. Carrying around boxes of cards with incomprehensible lines of programming and hanging out in the noisy computer lab until 4 am was not my idea of fun. College was supposed to be fun, right?

Alas, we know we can’t change the past. We can only learn from it. As I peruse my list, I notice that there would be considerable work involved. And we all know that I don’t like complicated and anything that involves a lot of work. Why not keep it simple with this solution. Marry a rich, old man, preferably one who was frequently out of town on business. I wouldn’t have to worry about a career. I could fill my days with lunch with the girls, reading, writing, horseback riding, whistling for my dog and making appointments with a handsome real estate agent in search of a great piece of land.

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