How would you change your life?

The big tree at Big Tree Park, Glendora, CA. CarolAnn and I lived half a block away. Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

How would you change your life if you could have a total do-over?

The idea of going into the past to change history is science fiction meat and potatoes. It teaches us the time travel paradox: if you went back in time and killed your grandfather you would no longer exist and therefore could not go back in time to kill your grandfather.

Let’s not go down that rabbit hole. Just ask yourself, what would you do differently if you could?

I wouldn’t change a second of my childhood. It was a wonderful childhood. I loved my parents deeply and they loved me. Growing up in the 1950s and 60s was the ideal age of innocence, security and adventure.

I wouldn’t change my first marriage, either. Yes, we got married too young but if we had waited chances are it wouldn’t have happened at all and our son would not have been born. That would be a terrible loss for us and for the world he grew into. Besides, we were young and in love, each of us for the first time. Who would give that up? Would you erase your first love?

I have many fond memories of that time in my life. Our marriage didn’t fail, it just ended so we could both move on.

Between marriages I lived life large with a million laughs and many friends.  I had those so-called wild times that people usually have when they’re ten years younger than I was. It wasn’t perfect but it was a lot of fun. I was catching up on my life lessons. I wouldn’t change a moment.

The wild times led me to CarolAnn. We met in a honky tonk. She likes to emphasize the fact that we met on a country swing dance team but the fact is if I hadn’t gone into that bar for some beers, neither knowing about nor interested in a dance team, I would never have met the love of my life.

I’ve had pain and sorrow, disappointments and screwups. Those things are important. They teach us perspective and push us into the next phase of our lives. The decisions we make, the choices of whether to turn left, right or go straight are what matters. Those decisions are informed by our experience.

If I could do it all over again I’d change just one moment. I wouldn’t climb up on that roof December 13, 1990.  Falling has given me 29 years of pain and denied CarolAnn the opportunity of dancing with her husband the way we used to.

I’d change that in a heartbeat but nothing else.

What would you change if you got a total do-over?


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Author: Dave

Dave Williams is a radio news/talk personality originally from Sacramento, now living in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, Carolann. They have two sons and grandsons living in L.A.

3 thoughts on “How would you change your life?”

  1. Honestly the only thing I would change is my drive in my late teens and early 20’s. Like you, Baseball was my thing and I was a really good pitcher. I struck Dusty Baker out in an all star game at about 16 years old. Whitney Little League! I should have done more to excel and see if it worked out, but lack of self confidence hindered my drive and I did not take the risk. I have no idea if that would have changed what I know as my history much, but it would have been interesting.

    1. Striking out Dusty Baker! I remember watching him play at Renfree Park. He was a natural. Too bad you didn’t follow through with your love of baseball and obvious talent but I think you and I are alike in one respect: we both have talent but couldn’t find the gumption to take the risk of failure. I’m pretty sure some of the best baseball players and writers who ever lived never made it big because they lacked the enormous self-confidence and drive it takes to get to the top. I’m okay with that, I guess. I mean, what choice do I have? 🙂

  2. I’m always surprised when I see interviews with people who say they wouldn’t change a thing. My little mind churns over such details and I could produce a long list of regrets if I took the time. So – in generalities – yep – there’s a lot of stuff I’d change.

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