Lessons in the If  

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Living with “what if’s” is such a waste of time and energy. While we can look back, we can only impact our lives in the present and continue to move forward.  I had to explain this again recently to someone who continues to reconcile the facts of my past of which they are aware. If I left the first time anger and threats drove a friend from my life, I would have never married; the first time shame was used as a mean to control me, I would not have my eldest child;  the first time I felt fear to my core I would have left while pregnant with my daughter ; the first time shame and humiliation revealed my intimate relation was dysfunctional and without choice, I would have had only one child; the first time an injury was blamed on my actions I would only have two children; the first time my financial stability was undermined I would have not had the wherewithal to stand on my own two feet and provide for my children; the time I chose to return after I had a plan to leave, I would have my advanced degree and tenure and not my third child, the first time I rationalized the facts of infidelity away, the first time I made an excuse for his behavior, the first time I realized I was loathed by the person who vowed to love me for better or worse, the first time he said he was not a bad husband because he did not beat me….. The list can be quite extensive. Through the explanation this week, I also had an old friend surface, the one driven from my life with the first  act of anger, to touch base as done from time to time, so again I was facing a part of my past that I have worked to reconcile.

Living with ex post facto decision making can undermine my peace and keep me from moving forward yet I do believe we should learn from experiences. I am grappling with the fact that apparently there is something I need to learn from the continual surfacing of these items but cannot find the meaning.  Am I needing to acknowledge the fact there is no control over my life? Am I to be learning from a single event? What meaning am I overlooking?

“The only source of knowledge is experience.” Albert Einstein

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