If I Knew Then What I Know Now

If I Knew Then What I Know Now

That statement is easily one of my least favorite quotes of all time.
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How often does that phrase come up when speaking with older, more experienced individuals? That simple statement carries a lot of weight and meaning. I'm never one to enjoy "if only" statements or other statements of regret. I guess what bothers me most about the phrase "if I knew then what I know now", is the fact that we will all go through that stage of regretting our not knowing. And despite the amount of times we have heard that phrase, we most likely won't take heed of it.

I recently completed a project on the topic of transformations. I set out to interview over twenty people between the ages of four and fifty-five. I asked each participant the same set of questions:

1. How do you define a transformation?

2. What transformations have you gone through?

3. What things provoke transformations?

4. What qualifies something as a transformation?

5. What career path are you currently pursuing/wish to pursue in the future?

6. How will your future career transform you and others around you?

Nearly everyone that I interviewed mentioned something. After being asked about a transformation that they had gone through, everyone mentioned how their experience would have been vastly different if only they had know something then that they know now.

Cover Image Credit: Hadassah Rivera

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A Letter To The Grandpas Who Left Far Too Soon

The thoughts of a girl who lost both of her grandpas too early.
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Dear Grandpa,

As I get older, my memories are starting to fade. I try to cling to every last bit of memory that I have of you. There are certain memories that have stuck well in my brain, and I probably will never forget them, at least I hope I don't. I remember your smile and your laugh. I can still remember how your voice sounded. I never want to forget that. I catch myself closing my eyes to try to remember it, playing your voice over and over in my head so that I can ingrain it in my memory.

I always thought you were invincible, incapable of leaving me. You were so young, and it caught us all by surprise. You were supposed to grow old, die of old age. You were not supposed to be taken away so soon. You were supposed to see me graduate high school and college, get married to the love my life, be there when my kids are born, and never ever leave.

My heart was broken when I heard the news. I don't think I had experienced a pain to that level in my entire life. At first, I was in denial, numb to the thought that you were gone. It wasn't until Thanksgiving, then Christmas, that I realized you weren't coming back. Holidays are not the same anymore. In fact, I almost dread them. They don't have that happy cheer in the air like they did when you were alive. There is a sadness that hangs in the air because we are all thinking silently how we wished you were there. I hope when I am older and have kids that some of that holiday spirit comes back.

You know what broke my heart the most though? It was seeing your child, my parent, cry uncontrollably. I watched them lose their dad, and I saw the pain that it caused. It scared me, Grandpa, because I don't ever want to lose them like how they lost you. I can't imagine a day without my mom or dad. I still see the pain that it causes and how it doesn't go away. There are good days and there are bad days. I always get upset when I see how close people are to their grandparents and that they get to see them all the time. I hope they realize how lucky they are and that they never take it for granted. I wish I could have seen you more so that I could have more memories to remember you by.

I know though that you are watching over me. That is where I find comfort in the loss. I know that one day I will get to see you again, and I can't wait for it. I hope I have made you proud. I hope that all that I have accomplished and will accomplish makes you smile from ear to ear. I hope that the person I marry is someone you would approve of. And I hope that my kids get more time with their grandpa than I did because the amount I got wasn't fair.

I want to say thank you for raising your child to be the best parent ever because they will one day be the best grandparent ever. Just like you.

Cover Image Credit: Katelyn McKinney

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To the Girl Fighting to Keep a "Friend"

Not all friends are worth fighting for.
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To the girl fighting to keep a friend,

It's unbelievable how many people come and go. You meet so many people in your life, but you never really know which ones will actually stay around. Even the people you once called your best friends may turn out to be just a chapter in your life.

How could you know that the person you once called your best friend, or a close friend, would turn out to be selfish and not care about you. Your friendship starts out fun and you are attached at the hip. As time goes on, they start putting you down. They laugh at your ideas, or they choose something, or someone, else over you. There have been way too many time where plans have been cancelled because something else came up. Sure, some reasons are okay and they have to cancel because of something, but 95% if the time, the reason wasn't a good one. They could have taken an hour of their time to spend it with you.

When you call them out on it, they put the blame on you.

There are a few of these "friends" though that you have gotten so close to that you don't wanna let them go. You keep apologizing, for things that weren't even your fault. They stop talking to you because of something that wasn't even your fault, so you decide to give them a little space. After a while, you try talking to them again, like nothing has changed. At first it is okay, but then something else happens and you stop talking again, or get into another argument over something stupid. You want to keep trying because you don't want to lose this person, this person you once called one of your best friends. But it's not worth it.

So I am going to leave you all with some of the advice that has been given to me over the past few months as I having been fighting for a friend that isn't worth fighting over.

" I know she was one of your best friends but she isn't acting like one now and from my experience it's not always worth it to keep fighting for someone who is fighting against you and not for you. Which sucks because you spent so much time and effort building a relationship that's getting thrown away because she can't grow up and accept some of the blame for this"

"Leave that shit where it belongs and focus on you for a little. You're always fixing other people and that takes a toll on your mental health."

"Don't forget all of the great times you guys had, keep those memories, but try and focus on the great things that are going to happen in the future too."

" You should just block her for now so that you can't keep trying to get her back because it's probably weighing you down and you should be relaxing and having fun because it's summer."

"You need to stand up for yourself."

"You need to stop letting her do that to you."

Believe me , it's hard to lose a friend you thought would be one of your bridesmaids, but you have to realize those toxic relationships and cut them out. Your true friends will stick by your side through everything. They will be the ones letting you make your own decisions and not forcing you to do something that you don't want to. They won't let a stupid little argument come between you. They may get mad about something, but they'll get over it quick. Your real friends will be the ones you trust with your life, the ones that support you and are honest with you. They don't lie or try to avoid the topic. Keep those true friends and get the negatives ones out. You'll be glad you did and you will be so much happier.

Sincerely,

A girl who just went through this and knows it's hard

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