Letter to Me
September 9, 2011 § Leave a comment
For many the idea of time travel immediately brings to mind the possibility of unlimited wealth and fame. If one could simply travel back 10, 20, or 30 years into the past and put his money in the right stocks or patent a the right idea then life would be easy and perfect. For others it spawns the image of a far-off future filled with wonderful (or terrible) technological advances rendering the world unrecognizable. If one could just travel 100, 500, or 1000 years into the future then life would really be interesting.
Along with these thoughts comes a myriad of theoretical paradoxes about changing the past. Ignoring these for the moment and assuming time travel is possible, we were asked to answer the simple question “What would you do if you had a time machine?” For me, the simple answer is nothing.
While this question may seem to ask what we would use such a machine for, to me the question is more about whether I would use it at all. Going into the future is a no-brainer in my opinion. While some may find it intriguing to know how their life will turn out, I have no interest in it. The glory of life is in the mystery that the future holds. Without the curiosity about what will happen today, what is the motivation to get out of bed? If success or failure is predetermined, what happens to motivation?
The past presents a somewhat more tempting option. Like everyone else I have made my fair share of mistakes, and I have made plenty of decisions that may have turned out better if I had chosen differently. That being said, my mistakes have served as my greatest lessons. Without them I would not be the person I am today.
As I am writing this a song just came up on shuffle called “Letter to Me” by Brad Paisley. Aside from the fact that I can’t believe I actually enjoy country these days, it seems particularly fitting. Even given the chance to write a letter to his past self, the singer says “And when you get a date with Bridget make sure the tank is full. / On second thought, forget it, that one turns out kind of cool.” A mistake-free life is not necessarily a perfect one. The path that we take is not always straight, but its our path and I wouldn’t change it even if I could.
I want to revise my first answer. I wouldn’t do nothing, I’d destroy it.