Why I don’t wish I knew at 20 what I know now

We all know that hindsight is always 20/20. Our views mature with experience and, yes, suffering. We get to know ourselves better, revisit decision made in the past, consider mistakes we’ve made and how we have improved (hopefully).

Oddly, I keep coming across YouTube videos or blogs where people talk about the 3, 5, 10 or 20 things they wish they’d known 3, 5, 10 or 20 years earlier. Or something along those lines anyway.

Why?

Sure, if I knew at 20 what I know now a lot of pain may have been spared me. I would have made completely different decisions. I would have avoided a ton of mistakes. I would be in a completely different place now than I am.

But this is no more than a thought experiment. I can’t go back and warn my younger self of all the mistakes she will make. And I honestly don’t want to. I value the journey I have been on in the last 20 years.

It has made me into the person I am now. And I am happy with myself.

Changing any of that would make me into someone different. Provided the multiverse exists, then there is an alternate version of me in an alternate universe who has made a lot of different decisions. Perhaps, she was wiser at the age of 20, 25 or 30. Perhaps she made one foolish mistake after another (though I’d like to think I’m not overly foolish in any version I might exist in).

I will never know, one way or another. And I cannot go back in time to enlighten my younger self either.

So, what is the value of wishing you could convince your younger self of adopting 5 habits that it took you 10 years to develop?

Other than appreciating that you were young and foolish then but have managed to adopt those useful habits in time, I don’t really see it. Am I missing something?

Is it not okay to appreciate your younger self for who you were then? And is it therefore not also okay to value the journey you have been on, every painful step it may have taken, and be proud of who you have become?

Ultimately, we can look back all we want, but we cannot change the past or who we were. I honestly have no desire to change anything about my nerdy, shy and still woefully awkward 20-year-old self.

Without her, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

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