I Want A Do-Over

I recently heard an interview with National Public Radio journalist Mary Louise Kelly about her new memoir as a world renowned journalist and mother. Kelly told of an incident that occurred during a public forum some years ago. A woman said to Kelly that she had just finished raising four children and was an empty nester and that she wanted a do-over. 

Have you ever come to the end of an important event or era of your life and felt like you needed or wanted a do-over?

Probably all of us feel that when we look back on our lives–that we want some sort of a do-over, because we know that we haven’t gotten it all right. For those of us who are parents, the yearning for a do-over is almost inherent in the job. By the time we figure out how to do parenting, the major work of raising children is over. So much of the time while parenting, we don’t know what we are doing, often don’t find the advice of others helpful to our situation, and go to bed at night feeling lost or convinced that whatever we have done was wrong. 

Parenting is not the only venture where do-over’s would be helpful. Ask anyone who has ever served as the President of our Board or who has served as a Board member, a Lay Minister, a Service Leader, or in any capacity in our community. People in our community are willing to serve, and we all want to do a good job for our community. Most of us spend time wondering if we might not have done a better job if we could do it over again.

In most of the big events in life, we don’t get do-overs. What we can do is to look backwards for a moment with some generosity and see that we really did the best we could in those times.  And then, ask a question that Mary Louise Kelly asked the woman that day in the forum: who says you are done yet? And with the life that is left, what intentions do we hold? What are we able to do and create and collaborate on with others where we show up as the person skilled and shaped by our past endeavors–regardless of how we feel about them?

No do-overs.  But, watch out.  Here comes our next opportunity. 

~Bob Patrick

This entry was posted in Creativity and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to I Want A Do-Over

  1. katrina yurko says:

    Ms Kelly is a master at interview. Both she and her subject were looking at a long range life experience that packs quite a wallop when critiqued in hindsight. Anything that long range ( raising 4 children) or with so many variables is certain to escape the ones at the head of family. The grace happens when opportunities present themselves again and again within the time frame that we still have some control over. We re-do, we make mistakes and we have the opportunity to re-do even while we are actively having this long range experience. but once it is done, it is past. The past belongs where it is because it makes better sense there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *