Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Journey Back Into Time

A dear friend of mine sent me two pictures from my past yesterday. The first thought in my head was “Great way to start a Monday morning – with a picture that makes me feel old and fat.” But, after the initial shock of seeing the much younger me, the pictures caused me to reflect on my past. Between the time that the pictures were taken and my here and now, my life has taken many twists and turns. I wondered if I went back to that earlier time, would I change anything, any decisions I have made along the way. And, I believe I would only change one thing.

The pictures my friend sent me were ones taken my first day as a police officer. I was 19 years old, quite naïve and inexperienced, but hell bent on proving myself to my friends and family. What better way to do that than to become one of the first 5 women police officers for a city force that didn’t want women officers. The work was exciting and dangerous, depressing and life-affirming. I learned a great deal in the 5 years I worked for the police department, but knew early on that such a career was not in the cards for me. Being a police officer changed my fundamental outlook on life, a change I did not like, and as such, I had to move on or lose myself.

Through the years, I have built a career in computers for myself, a career which flourished because my timing was good. I’m raising 4 wonderful children, and they are my proudest accomplishment. I’ve found great friends along my life’s path, and I have enjoyed life in the ways I wanted to enjoy it. I’m satisfied, and I believe not everyone can make that statement.

So, what’s the one thing I would have changed? Most people who know me would expect the answer to be that I would not have spent 14 years in a marriage to an abusive alcoholic. While those 14 years were indeed the lowest point in my life, one incredible thing came of that pain – my now 17 year old son, Chip – and that is one thing I wouldn’t change, no matter what.

I've decided not to share with the world the one thing I would have changed. The other person involved in that decision knows what it is. Let's leave it with I made a decision that I regret even today - 30 years later. But hey, one regret is not too bad in a person's entire life time, right?

I am who I am today because of all I have faced since the pictures of that 19 year old police officer were taken. I like who I am, and I like what I am accomplishing. How about you – if you could travel back to your youth, would you change anything?

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