Benefits of Hindsight

In hindsight, we are all wiser. Which of us has not had a crazy thought of somehow getting hold of our younger self, sitting him or her down, and telling him or her a few things that would benefit the young man or the young woman? To use a cliché, experience is an excellent teacher, but experience comes at a cost, in time and other life resources. Like many of us, then, I thought back to my college days today. They were in the 1980s. I will not bore you with mundane details of my life back then. What is important is this thought that I had while I was thinking about a time when I was less than half my present age. I wished that I had spent more time thinking through my decisions. I suddenly realized that I was in too much hurry. Things were a matter of achieving this or that or being successful here or there. There was little thought that I gave to what I wanted to do, what I was really interested in, what made me happy, or what set me apart. What mattered those days was what kind of job you got if you entered a certain field. I was in a hurry to grow up, get out, and be on my own. There is nothing wrong with this thinking; only it can rob us of an opportunity to cultivate and develop our personalities and interests. It is all very romantic to hear about a sixty-year-old college student who graduated with students who could be his or her sons or daughters. But life isn’t only about college degrees or diplomas hung on a wall. Some of us have lists of things that we want to do in our lives. How many of us look at this list in our Monday to Friday schedules? How many of us have secretly given up on the list or at least thought it to be an aspirational goal rather than something we want to give our lives to? How many of us sometimes look at this list and not recognize it to be our own? I said a thing to myself today: from now on, I will try to think more and harder before I act. I will be more purposeful and less expedient. I will look at my list more often, and I will at least try to do things that are in conformity with the items on the list. The best use of hindsight is to use its lessons, some of which are obvious but some are less direct and perhaps more important.

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