Sunday, June 7, 2009

Round(table) the Clock

Ah, the art of introspection. A pursuit which can be both rewarding and maddening dependent upon circumstance. In today's Roundtable, I have put the question to our Gentlemen. Given the opportunity to revisit ones own past, how would you choose to relive it? What moment would you go to? Would you simply replay the events so you could experience them once more, or would you actively seek to change the way it had happened for hope of a better outcome?

This was the conundrum presented the Gentlemen. Their answers were varied in both content and detail. I shall forego the usual long-windedness, as time is a precious commodity. Enjoy their answers, as the Roundtable convenes once more.

John Ozkirbas

This question is fairly difficult for me to answer and I usually avoid it when asked of me. There are several events in my life that I would handle differently if given the chance. But, I also adhere to the philosophy that my life and the events in it have shaped who I am today and making mistakes is an important part of that process. As much as I have regrets, I try not to let them weigh me down. Regardless, if I could give all the things that I would do differently a theme, it would definitely be "go for it" more. At everything. Get more involved, take more risks, let my guard down more often, be more decisive. Of the slew of events I would handle differently, most involve this general trend.

The coolest thing about being alive these meager 22 1/2 years (as mushy as it sounds) is knowing that I have many more years ahead and that I can now make the changes necessary to implement more "going for it." Recently, I've made the decision to make positive changes to improve both my lot and my disposition about it - "proactivity" should certainly be one of them. I understand that this does not conclusively answer the question, but for this question it is the only answer that I have.

Max Nova

Although there's countless things I could go back and tweak, I'd relive my first proper kiss, (not the one with the first person with whom I screwed things up with royally, I'm just going to that one go). I won't say who that proper kiss was with, but it was just a wonderful experience and I wouldn't change it a bit.

David Pratt

I once had a surefire shot at having sex with two women at the same time. I made a grievous error in judgment earlier in the day that resulted in someone who should not have been there coming over to deliver me a gallon of milk.

I would go back to earlier that day and decide to get my own damn milk.

Butterscotch Graham

Okay. This one was a really hard one for me, because the one thing I would truly go back and redo in my life is not something I am prepared to share with the internet community. No offense meant to our gentle readers, of course, but a Gentleman has got to have some privacy.

And to go back and relive has a lot of baggage connected with it as well. Like, if I go back to when I was ten, do I then have to relive teenagerhood again? Because that is another thing I am simply not emotionally ready nor willing to put myself through. Another thing, is this a Rod Stewart situation where I would keep my 20/20 hindsight, or would I just be returning to myself as myself at that point in my life?

Either way sounds like not a lot of fun, because on the one hand, I'd be irrevocably changing my life in ways that in most cases I just don't think I want to do, and in the other I would just be reliving my life exactly as it was, which is something I've already done so what's the point? I'm too content with my life the way it is, the people I've met, the experiences I've had, even the adversity, misfortune, and tragedy, to consider this revisit as a viable option.

My life is what it is, and my memories are what they are. I wouldn't be me without them, and I like me for the most part. I've worked really hard to be me. I'm really only interested in going forward and allowing the past to fade into a rosy hue. Thanks for the offer, though.

Side note: Reliving is the thing I'm definitely not interested in, redoing is a little harder to call. It's hard to even say that redoing that previously mentioned single true regret would make it any better or worse than it was, though I can't say that, given this opportunity in real life, I wouldn't take it.

Adam Winer

Steve Bragale

I'd go back to the night I first kissed my girlfriend. And I would have been less worrisome.

Ali Daniels

I had one of those epic, two-year, first love relationships when I was in high school. His name was Greg and he was a year behind me in school (but almost two years younger than I am - maaaan did his mom not like me). As a naive 18-year-old, I honestly believed that we were in love and it would last forever and we'd end up happily married with brilliant, musically-inclined children. To me it was just a given that we'd stick it out through college. So when he started distancing himself from me over the summer before I left for College Park, it came as a huge shock. On the Monday before I left for school, he asked me to come over because we had to talk about something, and by then I knew the break-up was coming. He told me that he just didn't think it would work while I was away. And I accepted that.

The thing is, I didn't want to break up. I did think we could make it work while I was away. After all, it was only a short train ride back to Baltimore. I'd come up most weekends, and he could drive down to visit occasionally. What was 1.5 hours in the grand scheme of things? I wanted to give it a shot. I thought that our relationship deserved at least that chance.

But I said absolutely nothing. I didn't want to be a bother. I didn't realize at the time that my opinion on the subject should, in fact, matter.

I let it go at what HE wanted, and it's been one of those big regrets in my life. So if I could do it again, I'd tell him. I'd beg him to give it a chance. I'd fight on the side of staying together.

Because here's the other thing: I know now, for a fact, 110% sure, that our relationship would not have worked out. He probably wouldn't have agreed to give it a shot, and even if he had, I'm positive we would have broken up by Christmas. That would not have changed. But who knows what might have changed.

Maybe with some closure, I wouldn't have pined after him for over a year. Maybe my sense of self-worth wouldn't have been tied to being with a boy. Maybe I wouldn't have jumped into a rebound relationship with a guy who treated me like his personal food delivery service while he played way, way, way too much Tiger Woods Golf and Dynasty Warriors IV. Maybe I would have formed even stronger friendships with the people in my dorm. Maybe I wouldn't have lost his friendship.

And even if I lived my life exactly the same way, at least the fact that I gave him all of the power wouldn't still be hanging over my head. That I made the choice to say nothing. That it was game time, and I didn't stand up for myself.

Jason Schlafstein

The moment I'll want to relive has yet to happen.

Welcome back to the present! I hope you enjoyed this gentlemanly stroll through our respective memory lanes. The Gentlemen all expressed to me that this week's question was one of above-average difficulty. Due to this universal appraisal, I have agreed that I will throw them the proverbial softball next time. So look forward to a new Roundtable rife with the humor and wit that is so often absent such a delve into our own personal core. Perhaps that is the larger issue to explore from these proceedings; why is it so often we focus on changing the negative rather than accenting the positive? My compliments to you, Mr. Nova, for being the exception to that rule.

So as we prepare for another Roundtable, perhaps this time joined by our newest Gentlemen, Mr. Lindeboom, I put the question to our readers. What would you do were you given the chance to relive a moment? Would you live through it just to make that rare once-in-a-lifetime a twice-in-a-lifetime? Or would you try to change how it occured? What moment would you relive in the first place?

Leave your comments here and let the discussion begin. It will be time well spent.


Dennis said...

For what its worth Ali I did the whole attempting to date the high school sweetheart through college thing. It led to two years of misery, self-loathing, and substance abuse.

Obviously, everyone's situation is different, but in my experience it's a nearly impossible situation to come out clean from.

On a side note, you dated a guy who played Dynasty Warriors?!? That makes my soul ache.

Ozkirbas said...

"I hate manure."
"88 Miiiiiiles per HOUR!"
It's 2009, where's my hover-board?
Ok, I'm done.

ali d said...

@Dennis - I just choked on my frosty and made an entire family look at me with shock and possible disdain. That's how hard I laughed at your last comment. Remind me to tell you more about Mike someday. He was a piece of work. He also regularly ignored me to play Magic, the Gathering. No joke.

And like I said, I know that the relationship wouldn't have worked out and it might not have been for the better (he was jonesing for the blonde girl at the pool, and she was a crazy bitch who hated me), but at least I wouldn't have stood idly by and let someone else live my life for me. That's what I regret - not that the relationship ended.