Calling a Do-Over: Would You If You Could?

backspace delete do over

Editor’s Note: TV isn’t the only thing this summer with repeats. This was one of the first posts I wrote when I launched this blog and it still holds true today. Thanks to Instagram, Twitter, and cell phone photos, this generation’s stupid mistakes are immortalized. Ours are etched in our minds for only as long as we hold on to them.  So, would you call a do-over if you could?

I remember when correcting mistakes wasn’t as easy as tapping a couple of keys on a keyboard.  Today, hitting the backspace or delete key can save the day by pulling you over before you shoot off that irate email you’ll regret later, it can create a seemingly flawless page of text, and undo that thing you just did that’s the exact opposite of what you meant to do.

If you’re a member of the Women at Forty club you remember correcting tape (vaguely?), white out, and trashcans full of crumpled paper. You remember a time when you’d have to think things over a hundred times before committing them to paper once. As a rule, we spent more time developing and preparing everything prior to putting it out there because it was hard to correct our mistakes and harder still to live with them once they’d been made.

I think the same holds true in other areas of our lives as well. Relationships, career choices, family. As we get older, we tend to make choices and decisions at a different pace. Today, women in their twenties start dating and break up in a matter of weeks, all by text message, tweets or status updates.  They’re making major decisions and mistakes quicker than ever.

When it comes to mistakes, I’ve made some big ones (one was at least 6’2 ”.) And none of them, sadly, came with a backspace button or delete key. I had to live through the consequences of making every one of my bad decisions – big and small. And while it’s really Zen to say we wouldn’t change a thing about our past, given the opportunity I would gladly delete and backspace some of mine with a vengeance.  6’2″ for one, burning my eyebrows off in a tragic but comical barbeque grill lighting fiasco for another, and remind me to tell you about “The Catfish” someday. In fact, I’d much rather have learned many of my life lessons the easy way, less intent on trying to thwart the I told you so’s and more interested in paying attention to the voices of the women who’d been there, done that, and saw the likely outcome from a mile away.

I’m grateful for backspace and delete keys. God knows I use them both every day.  But while even I would call a do-over on some of my stupider younger woman moves, I think that just as in writing, overusing the backspace key can stifle us, causing us to constantly edit and overanalyze ourselves – preventing us from living full, authentic lives, mistakes and all.

Would you call a do-over if you could? Share your thoughts here or on our Facebook page.

 

Backspace. Delete. Do-over…9 months later

Editor’s Note: I first wrote  the following post in September 2009. I’d only been blogging for a little while and The Women at Forty Project was brand new. One of the things I was struggling with was regret. I regretted some of the choices I’d made that lead me to where I was in my life in September 2009 and I’d regretted many of my mistakes. Fast-forward to 2011 and I’m still (shockingly to no one at all) making mistakes. So when a WAF community member posted this as her status updated last week, “There is such joy in turning a mistake into something beautiful” I looked up this old blog post and used it to remind myself why mistakes aren’t always such a bad thing…

I remember when correcting mistakes wasn’t as easy as tapping a couple of keys on a keyboard.  Today, hitting the backspace or delete key can save the day by pulling you over before you shoot off that irate email you’ll regret later, create a seemingly flawless page of text and undo that thing you just did that’s the exact opposite of what you meant to do.

If you’re a member of the Women at Forty club, then you remember correcting tape (vaguely?), white out and trashcans full of crumpled paper. You remember a time when you’d have to think things over a hundred times before committing them to paper once. As a rule, we spent more time developing and preparing everything prior to putting it out there because it was hard to correct our mistakes and harder still to live with them once they’d been made.

I think the same holds true in other areas of our lives as well. Relationships, career choices, family. As we get older, we tend to make choices and decisions at a different pace. Today, women in their twenties start dating and break up in a matter of weeks, all by text message, tweets or status updates.  They’re making major decisions and mistakes quicker than ever.

When it comes to mistakes, I’ve made some big ones (one was 6’2 ”.) And none of them, sadly, came with a backspace button or delete key. I had to live through the consequences of making every one of my bad decisions – big and small. And while it’s really Zen to say we wouldn’t change a thing about our past, given the opportunity I would gladly delete and backspace some of mine with a vengeance.  6’2″ for one, burning my eyebrows off in a tragic but comical barbeque grill lighting fiasco for another, and remind me to tell you about “The Catfish” someday. In fact, I’d much rather have learned many of my life lessons the easy way, less intent on trying to thwart the “I told you so’s” and more interested in paying attention to the voices of the women who’d been there, done that, and saw the likely outcome from a mile away.

I’m grateful for backspace and delete keys. God knows I use them both every day.  But while even I would call a do-over on some of my stupider younger woman moves, I think that just as in writing, overusing the backspace key can stifle us, causing us to constantly edit and over-analyze ourselves – preventing us from living full, authentic lives, mistakes and all.

Would you call a do-over if you could?

A very thankful woman at forty

j0402579 Thanksgiving week is here! Thanksgiving ushers in my favorite time of the year. The sights, smells and sounds of fall and winter bring back fond memories of growing up in the north with the falling autumn leaves turning to freshly fallen snow as the days got colder.  I remember raking mountains of leaves in the back yard with my sisters and diving into the freshly formed piles. Our lives seemed much simpler then.

Now, even in the midst of a world wide economic crisis, national healthcare debates and unspeakable crimes in the news, there’s still something about this season that gives me hope and joy.  The season ushers in a time when we increase our efforts at feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless and bringing a smile on the faces of children all over the world. When I see how millions of people, all over the world, reach deep into pockets that are emptier than they were in years past, it reminds me that at our core, we can be divinely human, and I am eternally thankful for that.

I’m also thankful that I live in a country where I’m free to openly express my faith without persecution. I’m grateful that I live in a country where as a woman I, at least on paper, have as many rights as a man. I’m grateful for a seemingly endless supply of books and knowledge that I have at my fingertips via the Internet or my local Barnes and Noble. I’m thankful that my parents made me read newspapers and do reports in the summer when I was a kid, so that I could consume information about the world around me. I’m grateful for nearly forty years of making mistakes, and being smarter and stronger for having made them.

What are you most thankful for this season? Share your thoughts in the comment section, or on our Facebook fan page. You can also catch updates on Twitter @womenatforty.

Backspace. Delete. Do-over

j0285068I remember when correcting mistakes wasn’t as easy as tapping a couple of keys on a keyboard.  Today, hitting the backspace or delete key can save the day by pulling you over before you shoot off that irate email you’ll regret later, create a seemingly flawless page of text and undo that thing you just did that’s the exact opposite of what you meant to do.

If you’re a member of the Women at Forty club, then you remember correcting tape (vaguely?), white out and trashcans full of crumpled paper. You remember a time when you’d have to think things over a hundred times before committing them to paper once. As a rule, we spent more time developing and preparing everything prior to putting it out there because it was hard to correct our mistakes and harder still to live with them once they’d been made. Continue reading Backspace. Delete. Do-over