This morning I was listening to a radio talk show, where the following question was posed:
If you could go back in time to your twenties, would you do it?
Of course the question was clearly aimed at those not in their twenties. In fact, the show is probably aimed at 30 and 40 year olds, a group of which I'm a member. I pondered the question for a little while and came to the conclusion that no, I wouldn't want to go back to those years again. Here's why:
I generally enjoyed my life in my twenties, so that's not really the reason. I enjoyed the freedom of being single, my life heading off in the horizon before me. However, I do think that as we grow older our memory of the past changes. I think we as humans have a tendency to romanticize the past -- recalling all of the great times and memories we had, while filtering out most of the bad times, lonely times and the boring times.
As an example: I can recall many fond memories of the past almost immediately, but if I stop and dwell on the past, I begin to recall the not-so-memorable moments. Like Friday nights spent at home watching bad made-for-TV movies. Or long nights at the office crunching for a deadline. And a particular favorite: cold winter evenings waiting for busses. And, I mustn't forget all of the lonely times that I wished for a girlfriend or wife to call my very own. While life was generally pretty good, it certainly wasn't fun 24/7. :-)
But the larger reason I wouldn't want to go back to my twenties is, I'd miss my wife and new son Nathan terribly. It's amazing how difficult it is to imagine how much a wife and children will one day mean to you when you're a single guy. Only now, as a husband and father, do I understand just know how valuable my family is to me. I think that's a very good reason to stay right here.
At face value, going back in time twenty years sounds like loads of fun, but after a little introspection, I'll pass. Even though my life now certainly isn't perfect, I like where I am. Someone else can step in to the time machine.
The next question is -- would you go back?