Friday Night Think Tank: Reset Button

Doc BrownIt’s Friday night and the long Memorial Day Weekend awaits, Modern Philosophers!

Memorial Day always gets me thinking about the past, and on this blog, taking a mental journey down memory lane can very quickly lead to a post about Time Travel.

As we head out to the Think Tank for our weekly Philosophical Exercise, I ask you to bring empty stomachs as well as Deep Thoughts.  The interns have the grill going, and there will be burgers and red hot dogs for everyone.

We just don’t have enough for everyone to drink, so lets’ make this party BYOBDT (bring your own beverages and Deep Thoughts!).

Are you on your way?  It’s smells so good out at the Think Tank tonight…

This week’s topic: You wake up one morning and are told that you must hit the reset button on your life.  You cannot opt out because the new Robot Overlords have spoken, and so it shall be done.  The new masters have at least given you the opportunity to decide to what point in your life you wish to return.  You will be that age again, but will get to maintain all the knowledge, memories, and life experience you have accumulated to this point.  You cannot reset to a time less than a year ago.  To what point in your life do you go?  Why have you chosen this particular time for your life reset?

I have pondered on this one for a long time, Modern Philosophers, and have generated many Deep Thoughts on the topic.

I would choose to reset my life to my first day of college.  So much happened during my four years at NYU, and that time definitely set me down a very narrow path that I would so like to change now that I know what I do.

GraduationThis photo is of my Dad and I on the day I graduated from high school, so that’s basically the boy I would become again.

I was so shy and unwilling to take risks when I arrived at Stern Hall for my first day of Freshman Orientation.  I also had no real idea of how to go about preparing for a career as a screenwriter.

The first thing I would do differently is take more production and directing classes.  I understand now that writers have a lot more clout when they also produce and direct their screenplays.

I’d do a much better job of networking with my fellow NYU Film students because I’ve seen so many of them go on to bigger and better things, and I wish I had taken the time to build connections that I could use to further my career.

I’d certainly take better advantage of my awesome internship.  Even though this internship led to my first ever paid writing gig at age 19, I kinda blew it off and only showed up when I really felt I had to go.  I should have milked that opportunity for all I could and lined up a job in production right after graduation.

What an idiot I was.  Then again, I was only 17 and really had no idea what I was doing.  If I could go back to NYU now with all the knowledge and writing skills I’ve developed, I would take Hollywood by storm.

I would also work on my social life.  I did overcome my shyness by my Junior year when I became dorm president, but I still wasn’t much of a risk taker.  I was raised to play it safe, and that was my go to social strategy in college.

I would go home to Brooklyn every weekend to work in a restaurant to make the money I needed to pay my tuition.  Looking back at that, I realize that I deprived myself of four years of college weekends and all the fun that goes with them.  I should’ve found a job in the city, so I could still stay at the dorm and be a college kid on the weekends.

NYUI definitely would rethink my love life.  During my Sophomore year, I met the girl who would grow up to be my ex-wife.

Knowing what I do now, I would steer clear of her and ask out so many other women.  Having only one woman in my life for 16 years was not a good choice, given how it all ended, so I would use my reset to date more, to take some chances, and to ask out the women I found to be so intimidating back then.

I’d also spend more time with my Dad.  He died at the end of my Sophomore year, and knowing that now, I would go down to Virginia and spend my summers with him.

Those four years at NYU really turned me into the Modern Philosopher I am today, and it’s easy to see now what mistakes I made.  I would love a chance to hit the reset button and get a do over on that experience and all the subsequent years of my life.

How about you, Modern Philosophers?


About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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18 Responses to Friday Night Think Tank: Reset Button

  1. Christie says:

    I have pondered this question so many times. I think there are things I’d do differently, but then I think that my experiences make me who I am and I’m pretty gosh darn terrific! Maybe I wouldn’t get married, but then I wouldn’t have the children I have and they are the light of my life. If I HAD to choose, I’d go back to just after my youngest son was born. I’d go back to school sooner than I did and have my life together by now so I could be on my own instead of stuck in yet another crappy marriage.

    • Austin says:

      Thanks for being the first one brave enough to take the plunge and post a reply. I thought this was a fun topic, and I appreciate your answer!

  2. To answer this question is to invite myself to indulge in all kinds of uncorrectable regrets. Sorry to not be fun. Here’s an answer that may be fun: I would go back to elementary school and do my best to kick the crap out of all the little snots that used to pick on me. This would no doubt get me into BIG trouble and I can’t even imagine how differently I would have turned out. Who am I kidding, I’m a writer, of course I can imagine it. But my comments run too long already.

    • Austin says:

      Well, this is all about Deep Thoughts, so if you’d like to tell us more, please feel free…

      • I like to think the kids would have respected me, that I would have learned that getting in trouble was not the end of the world, I would have been stronger, braver… Or else it would have been a tremendous disaster, the kids would all have still hated me and my parents would have made my life a living hell with the laudable intention of making me a respectable, non-kicking-shit-out-of-schoolmates lady. But I have a huge rule for myself of regret nothing, so I really should not have succumbed to the lure of answering your question.

      • Austin says:

        The Think Tank is a safe place. You can share your Deep Thoughts without fear…

  3. floridaborne says:

    I’m taking your word for it that there is no choice–I’d have to choose something. Otherwise, I wouldn’t change much about my life.

    If I had no choice, I’d go back to when I was 16. I wouldn’t to college the first time (I didn’t know I had dyslexia and dropped out after 2 years). I’m not sure what I’d do, but possibilities would include going into the military or working for a year before going to a junior college. All I know is that 16 was the fork in the road that set my life path. A lot of people whose lives were made miserable by my choices wouldn’t have to be subjected to the misery.

    • Austin says:

      Thank you for sharing that answer with the group. Not many people are participating tonight, and it’s making me wonder if they are scared to give it a shot…

  4. SD Gates says:

    I think I would reset back to when my husband and I got out of the military. I think we would have just skipped the whole move to Jacksonville (3 hurricanes and a case of Meningitis), skipped the move to Phoenix and just come to directly to California. We would have saved ourselves so much money and hospital bills and worry and stress. Yes, I think that would have been a good reset point. Interesting question!!!!

  5. onlybadchi says:

    Great post and question! I can’t really choose, which is kind of sad. But I guess I would say back to the beginning of 7th grade–I think before that, I wasn’t defeated by life yet.

  6. AthenaC says:

    Wow – what an opportunity! So much I would do differently. For me, though, the key point in this decision is that I get to go back with all my knowledge and experience now, so I can skip some of the “If I had known X, I would have done Y differently” if it doesn’t (seem to) have an effect on my life today.

    All that being said, I would go back to right when I joined the Air Force. Being really out on my own for the first time from the upbringing I had, I had no idea how to be normal. And I screwed a LOT of things up. It took me years to figure out how that social give-and-take works and how to figure out if someone is a decent enough person or not. So I would go back to then with all my current knowledge and see how much differently my life looks today.

  7. Anita says:

    I’d go back to the day I was born. While my life has been a rollercoaster with things that I’d never wish on another soul, there isn’t one experience I’d change because they’ve each led me here. I’ve developed resilience, confidence, and found my own voice along the way. Even though I divorced after 29 years, I’d do it all over again just to have my terrific kids. There are things I regret but that regret has kept me from doing those same stupid things over again and made me a more humble and accepting person. The Robot Lords will just have to agree or leave me alone.

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