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Hitting life’s reset button

Seven months ago while enjoying a little Saturday afternoon cricket picnic, a friend posed the question:

“If life had a reset button when would you have used it?”

Now, I understand the point and the purpose of this. Catherine was hoping to elicit some deep truths, with the eventual goal that people would bond further. That doesn’t mean I played the game though.

I recall my answer was somewhat flippant:

“I’d have used it repeatedly half an ago, until I figured out the magic incantation that convinces that cashier in the ‘Express to join me for a picnic... and then I would have ditched you suckers.”

It was an honest-ish answer; I mean yeah, she may have been worth messing with the universe for. It wasn’t, however, the correct kind of reply. I should have been describing some dreadful mistake I made, both to make my friends laugh and also to let them in a little closer.

I didn’t choose to answer that way to be deliberately obtuse, I answered that way simply because it was how I felt at the time.

Since then, and I direct you to the first three words of this post, I’ve been mildly obsessed with the question. I have a twenty heading document where I’ve described branch points in my life, specifically the ones with the deepest joy and most painful regrets. I hoped I’d see a pattern of some kind, and that would allow me to direct myself toward the happier paths in future.

I didn’t, and it hasn’t. Not even a little bit.

I don’t seem to find myself in the situations where I could repeat the most foolish decisions that I really regret. And I wonder whether that is because I’ve eventually been smart enough to learn my lessons, or stupid enough that I’m unable to spot the new mistakes yet.

The whole process has been very cathartic though. Despite having a significantly higher proportion of regrets than successes in my list, I kind of enjoying reviewing it in a cringe ridden way.

I’d really like to thank Catherine for offering the mirror, it has been intriguing in a terrifying and horrific kind of way. Unfortunately, I can’t. It is too late, and there is another lesson for me to learn.


For what it’s worth, that girl still works at the ‘Express and I’ve done nothing useful about it. Internet, this is the foolish truth I proffer you today. The others well, they’ll hopefully remain hidden away from view.