From time to time, I hear it said (something Roy Clark sang almost fifty years ago), “If I had it to do all over again….” Have you uttered this proposition of regret? Well, tough cookies, because without reincarnation, it isn’t happening. And even so, that wouldn’t strictly be your life do-over, would it?

Suppose, though, through the wonders of technological innovation, you could pay Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos a sick sum of money to make the life mulligan happen. Would you be on board?

I wouldn’t be, but not first for the reasons some might think. For sure, I would say no out of respect for God’s sovereignty. Or if you prefer to leave God out of it, to not “tempt fate.” The Bible says that God “works all things together for our good,” but perhaps there’s a clause where my unsanctioned do-over would be exempted from that guarantee. Like when I can’t return something broken for replacement because I got in there and tried to fix it myself, as if I was certified to repair that brand of vintage camper water-pump—just as a fictional example. But sovereignty is not the main reason.

Neither would I oppose a life do-over primarily on a scientific basis. Yes, I’d be skeptical that it could work at all, and furthermore concerned about tampering with the notorious space-time continuum. Yet not concerned enough to miss putting money on Apple’s IPO back in the day or correcting my posture early. On the do-over I’d decide to open that bag of Sweethearts more patiently in front of that girl in grade school (I launched them all over the floor). So, space-time is not the main reason either, because I’d be happy to re-do some financial, physical, and emotional matters at its expense.

To be sure, I also wouldn’t want any do-over that required going back to the start, to be literally born again. I’m happy with how I got through that situation. That dealbreaker would be more a “had to do it” than a “had it to do” situation.

Rather, the main reason I wouldn’t sign up, assuming a successful GoFundMe campaign, is much more practical. It’s the pressure. Am I prepared for the jeering I’d invite when others find out that I’m not a First-Timer? If you think your life sucks now, try getting sympathy for those same deficiencies when people get wind that you are on round number two. If hindsight is 20/20, a person on a do-over is without excuse.

“I hear Chard is a D-O, can you believe it? The loser!”

“I know, right? He’s still making First-Timer money and running F-T 10K times. A do-over should be worth at least twenty seconds a mile….”

When I miss an easy putt in disc golf, I often fetch my disc, march back to the spot, and “prove” the shot by chucking it in with disgust the second time. Sometimes in the angered frenzy, I miss the prove-shot, which proves only that I really deserved the first miss, and that I should consider lowering my expectations. And I must resist a second prove-shot, because if I make it, I will only walk away from the basket having “improved” to a pathetic 1-for-3 on an easy shot, and if I miss again, I will have to quit this demanding sport altogether.

Think of how many do-overs Phil Conners needed in Groundhog Day, and even though he started to get things figured out, the outcome ultimately went south.  I recommend that we pine no more for do-overs, and instead accept limitations and live with contentment. EMBRACE YOUR PLACE (paint that on a sign).  Unless you have that NO REGERTS tattoo.

Copyright © 2022 Richard Berndt – All Rights Reserved.

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