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Remember when you could call for a redo?

It was probably about the same time you could call dibs but a little before you could call shotgun.  It was when times were easier and the problems that weigh heavy on our souls weren’t evident.  It was when something as easy as asking to do it over again was enough to make a wrong choice disappear.

Of course as adults, it’s not so easy.  We can’t raise our hand and get full acceptance to all to be forgotten.   The best we can hope for is understanding; the worst hold grudges.  The best show compassion; the worst plot revenge.  We meet both on our journey and I strive to learn from both equally.

Redos are a part of life for a child but in my adult life, however, I like to think that I wouldn’t ask for any redos.  Each experience has made me, me.

When I was in college, I intentionally made class decisions to avoid my current career.  My academic counselor would ask “what about this class?” and I’d respond “no, that’s not anywhere close to what I want to do”.  And, when I graduated and didn’t have a job, the first offer I got was in my current profession; the one that I had tried hard to avoid.  The offer of moving to a North Florida beach community from small town Indiana was irresistible.  The allure of high profile projects that few would ever experience was a challenge worth accepting.  So, I took a job in an industry that I had always stayed away from (and cussed myself many nights for accepting over the years) and took the first step into my adult life.

My job moved me every couple of years and my second stop was not as temperate as my first; I was moving to the Snow Belt in Western New York where winter skies were covered in gray clouds and the ground was covered in snow until April.  It was here that my decision to accept a career I always shunned proved life’s path is not always easily planned.  I met my wife in a city that where I never would have moved by a decision I said I would never make.  How’s that for Karma?  Good thing I didn’t ask for a redo on career.

Our next move (together this time!) was to South Florida which brought teachable moments beyond anything I ever experienced.  It brought us to an environment that was full of struggles and tested our strength.  Through all of the challenges, however, I emerged stronger and more resilient to the pressures that pursue us all.   That experience and toxic environment contributed to the person I am.  Good thing I didn’t ask for a redo.

In the 13 years since leaving South Florida, I have been given many opportunities to learn and grow; many have been challenging and some have stretched me in ways that I expected to damage me beyond repair (my father’s death comes to mind – and actually, there’s one where I wish I could ask for a redo).  With each, the promise of being a better, stronger me proves itself time and time again.  With each challenge, I decide to grow from it; to learn from the experience and not wish for something different.

Are there things I wish I had different?  Yup.  Are there things I wish I could do over?  Yup.

Are there things I wish I could ask for a redo?  Nope.

Those are the things who made me who I am today.