On May 1st I wrote a post in response to a prompt that asked us to write a sort of self-portrait. Since I blog anonymously, I didn’t really reveal a whole lot about myself. However, I did write, “In the comments section of this post, ask me anything you want to know about me.”
I received a number of interesting questions that I proceeded to answer in kind (i.e., with replies to the comments). But one question, from Cyranny, who blogs at Cyranny’s Cove, was quite intriguing. She asked, “If you could relive one day of your life again, knowing you can’t change anything about it, what moment would you like to live a second time, and why?”
At first, the idea of reliving one day in my life sounded fantastic, especially if I could relive it knowing what I know now.
But what’s with the “knowing you can’t change anything about it” part? Isn’t the whole point of reliving a day in your past so that you can use your knowledge of “the future you” to potentially change something about that day you lived in the past?
Yeah, I know. Doing anything to change the past could create a ripple in time that would result in unintended consequences in the future. And that is a violation of the Prime Directive, or something like that. But what’s the point of reliving a day in your life if you are going to say the same dumb things and make the same stupid mistakes? I mean if you can’t right the wrongs of your past, why bother reliving it?
Besides, what if the way I remember the day I select to relive is not really the way it actually happened? What if I romanticized that day in my mind and reliving it will turn out to be an incredibly disappointing experience? Talk about a bad case of cognitive dissonance.
After all, what are memories but reconstructions of the past based on our current understandings of the world? Memories change little by little over time. They fluctuate. They are filtered. They are enhanced or exaggerated.
I’m sure that the way I remember a day or a moment five years after I lived it and the way I remember that same day or moment fifty years after I lived it are very different.
So going back to relive a day for a second time, especially when you can’t change anything about it, could be traumatic for me if the actual event and my memory of it are not identical.
So, Cyranny, I’m really sorry, but I’m not going to choose a day in my life to relive a second time. And I think I’ve explained why.
But thanks for asking.
Photo credit: Alan Cleaver.