If you found a portal that could take you back in time, would you go?
Most of us have probably thought at least once or twice about what it would be like to go back in time and have a second chance at a certain event.
Maybe you would go back and relive last Friday night, retake that entrance test to the college of your dreams, or spend some extra time with a lost loved one. On the surface, time travel seems like it would be a pretty good thing.
I am currently reading Stephen King’s 11/22/63 and the plot is very intriguing. Do not worry if you have not yet read it; I will not give away any spoilers.
But the premise of the story is about a man who finds a portal that takes him back in time and he has an opportunity to right one of the biggest wrongs ever committed in our history: He has an opportunity to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
My purpose today is not to give a book review, but I would strongly encourage you to read this book. There are none of the scary monsters or demons for which King is known. The storyteller has spun a wonderful tale of suspense and mystery that keeps me turning page after page to see what happens next.
As I started to write this week’s column, King’s novel really stuck with me. I found myself struggling to think about what to write, and then it hit me. I was rereading a column I wrote a few weeks back about the downturned economy and thought, “What about time travel?”
What if you could go back in time? Not to last week, or even 50 years ago; but what if you could go back five years to 2007? Looking back just five short years, what would you like to sit down and tell yourself about what the next five years will hold?
What would you say? Would you warn your old self of things to come? Would your old self listen and take heed of the prophesies of your future self?
What would your old self do differently to prepare for the downturn in the economy? Would you do anything differently, or would you let fate and destiny run their respective courses?
If you lost a job, what could you have done better to prepare for the transition you did not see coming?
If you were fortunate enough to have made it through the hard times thus far, would you do the same things over again?
Recently, I remember talking to a landscape architect who regretted turning down a job because he hoped to win a more lucrative project. Unfortunately, that more lucrative project never came to fruition. I wonder what he would say if I asked him what he would do if he could do things over again?
For me, this has been a really insightful week. Reading this book, I have really taken some time to reflect on how things have evolved over the last five years.
I know that if I had the opportunity, I would do things exactly the same way again. Sure, it would be nice to have maybe prepared a little better for a project interview that our firm failed to win, and I would have probably tried my best to help others prepare for what was to come.
But in the end, I truly believe I’m where I’m supposed to be and that I got here the way I was meant to.
Even so, a little part of me, somewhere in the back of my mind, wonders what it would be like to go back in time and redo some of the things I have done. But then I wonder that if I did, would I even recognize my today the way it is?
And that is a question for which I will never have an answer.
Have a great weekend.
Boyd Coleman is a landscape architect in Phoenix, Arizona. He can be reached on twitter at @CDGLA or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.