I love the idea of a do-over. On Microsoft Word, I’m addicted to the undo command. It boils down to this: There is something undeniably exciting about messing up so badly, yet still being able to go back and revise what you did.
In college, I’m equally smitten with all the proverbs students hear about “living in the moment” and the so-called “one-shot mentality.” But while these ideas have their merit, I cannot help but think the opportunity to redo some key moments would have drastically changed this year for many people, including me.
What if we could travel back to the time we “accidentally” drunk dialed our ex just to say how much he or she really sucked? Or what about the time we charged our parents’ credit cards for that VIP table service? That would be mighty nice. The more I think about it, I realize that after revisiting some of my memories from this past year, all I want to do is go back and redo.
Take the internship I had this fall at the Washington Post Express. There is nothing like the first time a young journalist gets published in a national periodical. Even though I got the smallest possible byline, the rush of having friends and colleagues recognize my work made all the late-night deadlines completely worth the effort. The time I spent with Fashion Washington – another Post publication – running thousands of dollars worth of diamonds around to photo shoots, traipsing around Georgetown toting couture gowns and meeting some cute students-turned-models turned out to be like a real-life version of “The Devil Wears Prada.” But when I got back to my “real life” to make money at a non-governmental organization, I realized it paled in comparison to tromping around the D.C. fashion scene.
I would also like to hit redo on some of the decisions I made in my social life. As it turns out, D.C. is a much larger city than GW’s five-block span makes it appear. Looking back, I could have ventured out more, if only to have another chance at getting lost in Adams Morgan, only to end up devouring the most delicious Ethiopian food of all time. Or I could have spent more time staying up all night and absorbing pearls of wisdom from some of the coolest seniors at GW – my teammates on the ultimate frisbee team. And if I could hit the rewind button on my personal relationships, I would have stayed truer to the quirky, goofy person I am.
As the end of the year approaches, it seems like it’s hard to ignore my regrets. To be sure, for every experience I want to redo, there are several more I do want to leave behind forever, like all of those “I just walked in on my roommate – again” moments. Yet therein lies the essential paradox of the do-over: You can’t pick and choose certain moments to forget, sacrificing what you’ve learned from them. If you want to relive your semester, you have to relive everything that went on during it – the good and the bad.