Monthly Musing – August 2014 – To know or not to know?
It’s just so happened that I’ve had a few conversations with different people over the last few weeks that have involved the words “if I’d only known …” or “if I’d only done this or that …”. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and if our hindsight was our foresight, the world would have been saved a great deal of trauma and we’d all be millionaires.
Unfortunately (or fortunately), hindsight is exactly that and we live each day with no idea about the surprises, both good and bad, that are in store for us. Is this a good thing, do you think? Would you rather know what was coming up around the bend, or is it better to take each day as it comes and deal with joys and challenges as they arrive? Would you still make the same decisions if you knew in advance what the outcome was going to be?
Fortunately (or unfortunately), we’ll never know the answer to this question. Who knows how many relationships might never have got off the ground because one partner knew in advance that the strength of their pairing would truly be tested “in sickness and in health?” Or what about those times where something wonderful and unexpected comes from a bad situation? Would we really want to miss out on those possibilities even though there was pain involved?
I think how you feel about this depends on your view on life in general. Some people face life head on, taking each day as a new adventure and relishing the challenges. Others are afraid of the changes that might happen, of losing people and possessions in their lives and preferring instead to keep their heads below the parapet. I suspect that most of us are a combination of those extremes, preferring for the most part to steer our way through calmer waters than head for rough seas. Hindsight would be a valuable tool, helping us to avoid dangers and disasters – but where would the fun be in that? How would we grow as people if we weren’t exposed to a few “what if” moments every now and again? We make our decisions based on the information that we have at the time, and we always make what we think is the best decision. Whether it turns out to be right or wrong, we have learned something from the experience which will make us stronger, braver and more confident in an other situation – even if we don’t see it at the time.
We can’t live our lives regretting the “if onlys” as they do nothing except take away the joy of today – which even if you can’t see it right now, is probably just around the corner. Life never stands still.