I often imagine going to sleep and waking up in the past, still consumed with the knowledge of the future I had initially chosen. And I often imagine, given the opportunity, if I would choose the same way that I did. You always hear that famous quote regurgitated by friends to "never regret anything in life, because at one time it is exactly what you wanted." But is this really true? How many of us actually believe this? Maybe some of the choices we've made are not what we wanted - but obstacles got in the way, gearing us towards that specific path inevitably. Maybe the vast majority of us choose to faithfully believe in this quote because it's much easier to accept than the fact that maybe the choices we didn't make would've been the better ones. Maybe the vast majority of us choose to faithfully believe in this quote because life would be extremely pitiful if we lived it in the past, constantly wondering, "what if".
Another quote I, myself, used to regurgitate over and over again is that "it's better to regret what you've done rather than what you haven't done." But what if what you haven't done was choosing that other road to venture on? Maybe one of the biggest reasons that we do wallow in our own past (and the choices we could've/should've made) is because we're fearful of the future. We're fearful of the future that is at the end of the path - the path that we chose.
But if we constantly live with regrets of yesterday and worries for tomorrow, then we're losing something extremely important - today. A quote I recently stumbled upon is one by philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard who said, "I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations - one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it - you will regret both."
I thought about this quote for awhile before I realized how true it actually is. No matter what decisions you make... no matter what path you choose to walk down... you're always going to wonder what you're life would be like if you had chosen the alternate path.
I recognize that "if only" are two of the saddest words in the world, but it doesn't stop me from wishing I had a DeLorean with a flux capacitor so I could go back in time. Though... we've seen the tangled web Marty McFly ended up in when he did that. However, he did make subtle changes in his life for the better and he did end up with a sweet 4x4 in the end.