The Microsoft Office suite of products offers a fantastic functionality that I sometimes wish applied to life: Undo. Undo your last action. Just pretend it never happened. Easier said than done, in most cases. It’s easy, in the context of typing or formatting, to just cancel your last action. In life, however, there always seem to be consequences to actions that include trying to undo prior actions.
The final episode of Orange is the New Black’s 4th Season is entitled “Toast Can’t Never Be Bread Again”; it’s poetic, and aptly named given what happens in the episode – no spoilers here, though. That saying illustrates that some things, once done, can’t ever be undone. Once the physical change occurs to bread to make it toast, the burning, there is no going back. Mistake or not, it has been done. It has been written. When I think about interactions with people in life, it’s nearly impossible to leave people the way you found them. We almost always leave an impression, make a difference (for better or for worse) in someone’s life. There is always an impact. And if there isn’t, you’re doing it wrong.
A butterfly can’t ever go back to being a caterpillar. Toothpaste is nearly impossible to get back into the tube, once squeezed out (believe me, as a kid, I tried.) Or in one of the greatest Lady Gaga/Beyoncé music videos, “Trust is like a mirror – you can fix it if it’s broken, but you can still see the crack in that motherfucker’s reflection.” Change happens. Once you crumple a piece of paper, even if you smooth it out, you can still see the wrinkles. Some things just can’t be 100% undone.
I wrote a previous blog post on mulligans, or do overs, in real life. In life, rarely does anyone get out without desperately wishing some things would have happened differently. There are mistakes you can make up for, but there are some things, no matter how desperately you wish for it, will never change. Maybe you lied; maybe you caused an accident; maybe there was some course of action you set in motion you wish you could take back.
Humans are the only animals who punish themselves multiple times for an act of transgression. It just keeps circling and coming back for some people, or they never let themselves forget it.
I look back over the last 6 months, as that’s how long I’ve lived in Seattle now, as of August 12, 2016. I turned 35 this month. There are some things that happened I wish I could change. I try not to live with regrets, but some are unavoidable. I do not regret my decision to move here, change jobs, or buy a condo.
It would be nearly impossible to get me to move back to San Francisco. It would be even more impossibler (I’m making it a word; get over it) to get me to move back to Sydney. I’m toast now, and I’ll never be bread again. People in my life have had profound impacts on me – some positively, some not so positive.
Sometimes toast doesn’t want to be bread again. Presumably, being toast is infinitely better than being the bread you used to be. For me, I’m proud of the woman I am today, because I went through one hell of a time becoming her. I may not be perfect toast, but I’m alright.
So, I propose a toast to the last 6 months changing me for the better, and for the months to come, hoping I continue to grow into something else. No going back, only finding the best way forward.