Wednesday, May 12, 2010

If I

There's a song I really like, by a singer I really love, that starts out "If I had the chance to change the past, shoot around the sun, unbreak the glass..." You know. Its a reference to Superman. That part in the original movie where Lois gets caught in an earthquake while Superman is busy doing other things. He arrives only to find his love buried under a pile of dirt. What does he do? He flies up into space real real fast and does a few hundred laps around the earth causing time to run backward just long enough to undo Lois' death. Every time I hear that line in the song, I think of that part in the movie. But it brings up a philosophical question that I've had in my mind for a really long time. If I could, would I?

I guess it's really a two part question, isn't it? First, if I had the power to change anything at all, would I use it? Superman was told not to. He ignored the warning. So, would I? Would you? Let's say for a minute that I would. The second, and more important question becomes, how far back would I go. Its one thing to go back five minutes to save a friend or loved one. I suppose anyone who could do that would. But then, life for me ain't been no crystal stare. There have been plenty of earthquakes. Which one would be the one to undo? Would I go back a year or so and pick my horn back up and finish that second record? Would I go back and push harder to make the first record more successful? Those seem like safe enough questions. But while I'm thinking about it, why stop there? In the grand scheme of my life, those moments were very small earthquakes. Maybe 2.5 on the Richter. What about the big ones. I've been through a divorce. I had a kid at age 17. Those were major moments. 6.0 at least. They were moments that, at the time, felt like things I couldn't handle. But I did. And what about the big one. That moment way back when I was seven, when it all changed forever. If I was superman, would I wind back time to a few minutes before that magical moment? That was a 9.5 on the Richter scale. The ripples are still being felt 27 years later. So would I undo it? And what would life look like if I did? After all, the further back you go, the less recognizable your life becomes. The path I'm currently on is a direct result of those earthquakes blocking other paths and opening the one I'm on. And I have to say, I like my path.

What I've come to realize about my life, thinking back on all my earthquakes, is that they shaped me. When the dust settled, I became a different person. I was stronger every time. I was wiser every time. And a few of those earthquakes brought amazing gifts with them. My teenage carelessness brought me my wonderful daughter. Can't undo that one. My rocky marriage brought me my son. Gotta keep that one. I go back a few years and focus harder on music and maybe I get a little further with that. Ok fine. But I do that and I'm probably not getting a ph.d in psychology either. Would I trade? I'm not so sure.

I guess the the point is, you can't have both. You can't have the parts of your life that you like and still undo the parts you don't like. The past is the past. It makes the present possible. What earthquake would I erase? Well..... you get the point. Now I wouldn't mind the whole flying thing.......

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