Etch-a-Sketch of Life

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Yesterday I read this article on regret, titled “What Would You Erase From Your Life?” In it, the author asks the question, “If you could go back and Etch-a-Sketch away some part of your life, what would it be?”

Reading it made me think about my life and the choices I’ve made along the way, and I was relieved to realize that for the most part, I’m happy with decisions I’ve made. After all, even the bad decisions have led me to where I am today, to who I am today, and without them I might not be the person I am.

Granted, there are definitely things in my life I wish would have done differently. Decisions and choices that I wish I could do over. We all know hindsight is 20-20, after all.

But to “etch-a-sketch away” something from your life is more permanent than that. The author describes it as a way “to capture those aspects of our past that we’d truly like to eliminate so that even the vestiges of their imprint don’t remain.”

So that even the vestiges of their imprint don’t remain. 

In my opinion, to want to remove something so deeply that “even the vestiges of their imprint don’t remain,” the experience or memory would have to be truly horrific, and well, I don’t know if there is any experience in my life that was so terrible I would want to erase it completely.

But memories are a different thing. Especially those of the haunting sort, and I do have a few memories of things I’ve seen or done that I wish I could remove completely. Do an eternal sunshine of the spotless mind procedure, if you will. Even now just thinking about them fills me with complete misery and unease. One involves seeing my dog get hit by a car, a memory so horrendous and vivid that I still have nightmares about it almost 20 years later. Another involves something I did, something I wrote, about my high school boyfriend (who was and is a wonderful person). Had he never found this ominous letter in which I wrote undeservedly mean things, who knows what would have happened, but of course, life is never that simple, and if I could take back that action I would. Since that is not possible, I certainly wouldn’t mind having the memory of it erased completely, as thinking about it still makes me cringe with self-hatred.

I also have quite a few memories from my childhood that I wouldn’t mind etch-a-sketching away, but I’m not going to write about those here.

In general, I do believe that bad choices and shitty situations can lead to incredible solutions and great future changes, but I’m sure that most people have at least one memory they wouldn’t mind erasing.

What about you? Is there anything in your life that you would like to etch-a-sketch away completely?

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nancy @ adore to adornAugust 30, 2012 - 10:31 am

Your posts are incredibly insightful and thoughtful. I’m becoming more fascinated with what you have to say.
While there are definitely things in my life that I wish didn’t happen…I couldn’t say for sure that I would want them completely removed from my life. I have learned a lot of life lessons and while I really do wish I didn’t remember a lot of the bad…I just have to understand that where I am today has made me more knowledgeable. Maybe not everything I learned is a great lesson, but life is what you make it.
Thanks for making me remember that.


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