The Moments We Want To Change Are The Ones That Have Helped Us Grow

If you could go back in time, would you?

Image for post
Image for post

I daydream. A lot.

Often times, and I say this with a twinge of regret, I’ll conjure up events from my past, and change the original story. I’ll stop myself from saying or doing something I regret having done, or I’ll even manipulate the narrative completely until I’m satisfied with the outcome. Maybe you do the same.

I think about this question a lot:

If you could go back in time, would you?

It’s a popular question. One that you’ve turned over in your mind before, no doubt. What would your answer be? Mine, despite how often I fantasize about my past, would honestly be no.

There are moments in my life I regret either because I did something or because I didn’t. We’ve all had and will continue to have those moments. So, why wouldn’t I go back in time to change them?

My reason is simple yet vast.

A couple years ago, I got the Deathly Hallows symbol from Harry Potter tattooed on my forearm. I walked into the tattoo shop that day, already imagining the small, one-inch triangle on my arm. When I walked out though, a two-inch triangle was inked into it. Needless to say, I was a bit angry.

What happened in between?

The tattoo artist said that a smaller tattoo wouldn’t look good, especially as I grew older because it would shrink. I really did not want the bigger tattoo, but you know what I said?

“Okay, that’s fine.”

Inside, I’d already regretted my decision, but I wasn’t going to back out for one sole reason: I didn’t want to bother him. Let that sink in. I was about to get something I didn’t want permanently inked into my skin, but I didn’t say no because I didn’t want to annoy him.

If I were to call upon this memory, I would change the answer to a simple, “Never mind.” I would search for another artist, maybe one who works with thin lines, and would have avoided the entire situation.

So, the question is, would I go back in time to this moment to change my tattoo? You think my response would be yes. It’s such a small, insignificant moment. I got an unwanted tattoo — so what? Loads of people regret their tattoos.

And yet, my answer remains no. Why?

Because I learned something important about myself that day. If there’s a possibility that I might inconvenience or annoy someone, I don’t stand up for myself. But, now when I look at my tattoo, it’s a reminder to stand up for myself no matter what, and it’s a damn good reminder.

The moments we want to change are the ones that have helped us grow.

In my head, there are memories I alter, but deep down, I would never actually change them. The hardships, the struggles, they should all remain the same because every single one of them has taught us an important lesson we’ll take with us forever, a lesson we might even share with others when they need it.

Just think about the terrible or terrifying moments you’ve been through that you wish you could change. Then, really think about them. You might find that despite how difficult the situation was, you came out stronger, brighter, and better.

Maybe instead of looking at the past and wishing we could change events, we should look at them with appreciation and feel grateful. Because of them we’re more equipped to tackle the challenges that are coming our way. Because of them we can look at all the good, and appreciate them even more.

Written by

23. Tips on creativity, writing, and life. Get your free “Before-You-Publish” Checklist here →

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store