Tuesday, March 24, 2009

okay, so I know this is pointless...


Anyone else play the Revisionist History game? It goes like this...


"If I could go back and change something - anything - in my life, what would it be? Which one thing could change the entire course of my destiny?"


This is a problematic game when you have kids you adore, because you always have to add in the mental caveat that no matter where you end up in your life you'd have the same kids, which is impossible, of course, because it takes two specific people to make a specific kid and if you're rearranging your life in such a way as to make one of them, um, non-existent then it doesn't really make much sense. But that doesn't matter. You can change any one thing you want, but the kids stay. It's the unwritten Mommy Rule.


(And here's a small thought, while I'm discussing making certain people non-existent. Why, when I've gotten both the apologies and the closure I wanted, why, when I'm more grateful by the day that I don't have to put up with crap that drove me nuts and made me feel completely insignificant for years, why, when I can't help but see that he's finally trying to step up to the plate for his kids - in the best way he's capable of - why am I still so pissed off at the man? It still continues to come in waves, totally unexpected when it arrives and not missed at all when it leaves. I tried to ask a divorced male friend about it today at work, but he lost me when he told me not to be surprised if the FX and I end up in bed at some point just for old time's sake. I told him that I'd gnaw off my own foot before that happened (and his too while I was at it for even putting that mental picture in my head to start with), and the conversation kind of went downhill from there. I've felt a little sick to my stomach all day since that, but I have only myself to blame. I should never have asked in the first place.)



Where was I? Oh, yeah. Introspection. Revision. The mythical ability to go back and change the past. The problem is, the more you think about it the less tempting it looks. Because one change in the past can change so many things in the present, both good and bad. Would you still have met the people who are so important to you? Could your life have somehow gone down the tubes? What if you made a different choice and it made your life worse? Then what? (A pointless question, because how would you even know?) It's like quicksand...the further in you go the more it shifts. And it can be very hard to keep your balance when you start thinking it through.


I think if I had to make one change it would be this: I would have gone to UCLA like I was supposed to instead of the school where I ultimately met the FX. For lots of reasons, extending far beyond him, this has been a real regret of mine as I've looked back, completely excepting the other day when I watched them get handed their shorts in a real piece of March Madness brutality and thanked my lucky stars that they were only my imaginary alma mater.


If this post does nothing else, it should at least illustrate the spaghetti piles in my head at the moment, the piles I'm unravelling one by one. This may (or may not) be the only time in my entire life that overthinking may (or may not) actually be a good thing.

13 comments:

Devon said...

I woke up today happy. My life isn't always bliss, but I am happy now and if I changed something that might not be the case.

Happiness is truly a choice, I have realized this old cliche is very accurate.

You are still healing, be patient and know you can be happy despite your past.

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

I do the same thing and go back in time and prevent myself from marrying my first husband and leaving the country of my birth. I try not to think of the implications, but it is what I really wish.

Maggie May said...

At least you can be relieved that you got out of the situation.

Yesterday, I had to unravel some sticks and string and as I was undoing the knots and pushing little sticks through loops to get them loose, I realized what a therapeutic thing it is to untangle a mass of knots. It's like you are untangling your life while you are doing it! Less messy than spaghetti!

It is early days to feel really on top. hang in there.

lv4921391 said...

the kids...therein lies the problem of the last two posts...i don't play the 'what if' game either because of the kids...it will probably nearly impossible to find a 'SO' that will/would accept them and meld into a family...were they younger (non-teen) or gonzo (left the nest) things would be different...time passes and each day is a day closer to happiness.

Cath said...

Nothing wrong with over-thinking.

Just don't ask a man who is divorced and on "friendly" terms with the ex.

Fatal.

Rose said...

This is why people need more time than they realize to process a divorce. There's a LOT of stuff between point A and point B and you're finding that out. Him? Not so much because he's jumped into another relationship already. And I NEVER ended up going to bed with my ex once I left so that's certainly not a given, despite the numbskull male's comment; probably his male fantasy? Hang in there. It continues to get better, like an upward spiral, I'd say. You revisit, but you're moving forward.

laurie said...

i've done a million done things and made two million bad decisions, not all having to do with men, but plenty of them having to do with men.

still: i have no regrets. i yam what i yam. i do not want to be different.

distracted by shiny objects said...

In some ways surviving the death of a spouse might be easier than a divorce. With a death you're allowed to grieve--the good and the bad, and to carry that grief with you. A divorce?...not so much.
I've been divorced now for almost 30 years; it has stayed with me. With time, I can see I'm a better person for it, I'm a better wife this time and have a whole lot bigger perspective. It's because of that time peiod that I found the quote,
"...Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves...Do not...seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will...gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
Rainer Maria Rilke
(Letters to a Young Poet, Letter No. 4)
Not always easy, but when I find myself getting "spaghetti brain" I take a deep breath, try to pretend like I have some faith, and try to live the questions and let them unravel.

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

Those are some very wise words I should live by also.

Rositta said...

I've played this game myself a number of times of late. Let's see what would I change. My parents would never have immigrated to Canada is my number one. Of course from point on life would have been way different. I would be better educated in Germany, would not have married abusive husband #1 and would not have my wonderful son and 4 grandchildren. I also would not have ever met husband #2, who is the best. I guess when we think our way through it life unfolds as is should even though life would have been way better for my parents had they stayed in Germany...ciao Oh yes, better health care system over there than here.

Pamela said...

you can't miss something that you never would have known--

BUT, it's all an imaginary game, anyway -- so we can play it anyway we want to.

-Ann said...

I'd make myself less math-phobic. Maybe not a math genius, but competent. I know my entire life would have been different (I'd be either a pathologist or a vet) if I hadn't be so terrified of and terrible at math.

Nearlydawn said...

You struck a tiny chord with me when you wrote about your guy-friend's reaction...

I actually did end up in bed with my awful ex about a year after the divorce. We were bored and a bit tipsy - it was for old time's sake. Do know though that I didn't hate myself after, but I did realize that the sex was the only thing about him I really ever loved, which was oddly freeing. :) Mostly because I realized that I guess I didn't ever get anything of substance from him, which meant I didn't owe him a darned thing, and that I wasn't missing anything, because I'd had even better sex since him. :)

I never missed him or doubted myself or my choice to leave at all after that, which gave me a certain power over him. Buh bye Boogie Man, so long and thanks for all the sex. LOL