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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

Time Travel and the Road to Acceptance

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We enjoyed a little “date afternoon” Saturday as a way to extend the holiday and break up the monotony of post-camping laundry. We were both in complete agreement about the move for the day – Mockingjay Part I, which Brock calls the “Star Wars for the next generation.” It’s such a universal story – the struggle for independence and the fight against oppression – and The Hunger Games tells it beautifully.

One of the previews was for a movie where a group of young people (oh my goodness, I sound old!) used a small time machine to go back and tweak their pasts, which of course led to all kinds of drama and unintended consequences. It felt like a mash-up of Back to the Future and The Butterfly Effect as it featured the entertaining allure of time travel as well as warning about the potential repercussions.

As the preview was playing, I found myself contemplating what I would do with unfettered access to a time machine. Not surprisingly, my thoughts centered around my ex:

Would I go back and ignore him when we first became friends at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 1992? Flashes of all the wonderful times we shared followed and missing out on that was not a choice I wanted to make.

How about leaving that relationship in my childhood and remaining in Texas when he moved to Atlanta in 1998? I thought about how much I now love Atlanta and consider it home and how much I would have missed out on.

I next focused on the money. After all, I gained nothing by being ignorant of his marital embezzlement and going back and stopping the hemorrhaging of my money could only have a positive impact, right? But even that left a sour taste in my mouth. Losing everything made be stronger and more grateful; I wouldn’t have had that lesson if I still had a cushion.

Ultimately, I decided that I would not change a thing. I am happy where I am and I could not be here without going through the rest. I’m sure some of my conclusion is from my brain’s self-protective mechanisms – justifying past decisions and weighing known losses as costlier than imagined ones. But some is also from the acknowledgement that struggle is what makes us strong and experiences really do build character.

On the way home from the theater, I posited the time machine question to Brock:

“I’m happy where I am, so I wouldn’t change anything. Oh, except I would go back two days and win the lottery.”

I smiled.

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7 thoughts on “Time Travel and the Road to Acceptance

  1. I find it amazing that without the bad events in our lives (including all the ones that we never thought would end) bring us to the good ones that we never want to let go.

      1. I know that everything has changed me for the better…11 months ago I would have never believed it was possible.
        Your story and writing gave me the hope that things change and it will get better.
        THANK YOU!!!!

  2. I’ve given some thought to this, too. For me, the only things I would change would be the choices that hurt other people. It’s one thing to say that I’m okay with my own hurt because the process of healing made me better, but I can’t make that call for anyone else. Plus, it’s really selfish to to be dismissive and unrepentant of the ways I hurt other people because “Hey, I learned something! That makes it all better, right?”

  3. If I hadn’t met and married my ex, I wouldn’t have my three children, my husband – and most importantly, I may never have read your blog or your book. I’m happy being me and wouldn’t change a thing.

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