What I love most about the human mind is that it knows no limits and it is not, other than its own physical structure, limited by the laws of physics. Each of us, in our own mind, is capable of being the architect of worlds which do not, cannot, and sadly probably never will exist. In addition to the very-real-to-me worlds I create in my books, I often sit, in a comfortable den in the space behind my eyes, and redesign myself; from the bottom up, from birth to infinity. There are so very many changes I would make, so very many ways I would be different from myself while retaining as much of the essence of me as possible.
Age, of course, has all but removed the chance that I might actually make any of the proposed changes in any of these areas...certainly not in anything involving physicality. Yet the wonderful thing...the thing upon I have always relied and upon which I increasingly rely...is my mind's ability to provide mentally and emotionally what I do not actually have physically.
But, were I able to do a do-over....
Physically, I would of course want to be strikingly handsome with a well-developed, athletic, and un-aging body. I would give myself ice-blue eyes contrasting with black or dark brown hair, flawless skin, and perfect teeth.
I would give myself a life partner who would love me as deeply and unwaveringly as I loved him.
Starting from childhood, I would be more outgoing, less dependent on or fearful of the judgment of others. And I would reprogram myself not only not to be so quick to judge others, but not to judge myself so unfairly, so unkindly, or so harshly. I would recognize that I am not responsible for what others might say or think of me. I would not dwell so strongly on my weaknesses (real or perceived) or on my past mistakes. I would more fully appreciate all the good things in my life, and not take them so much for granted.
I think I'd like to install a “knee-jerk reaction-time delay” switch between the time I decide to say or do something and the time I do it, to give me time to make sure I'm not going to regret it. My life is full of the sounds of bells which should never have been rung, and of an incredible amount of time lost in trying to undo/explain/apologize for something I did on the spur of the moment.
Because the current me has always been wrapped so tightly around myself, so fearful of any attack or slight, real or imagined, I have lacked even the most rudimentary physical looseness or flexibility to provide the physical grace I so envy and admire in others. I quite seriously literally ache with longing for physical grace and beauty.
In my interactions with others, especially in large groups of people, if some people are a “stick-in-the-mud” I am a pier piling, sunk so deeply in the riverbed I cannot move. During a standing ovation at a play or musical which moved me, I would be able to shout and whistle my approval, not merely stand there like Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt. I would, in any physically enthusiastic crowd, be able to jump up and down and wave my arms and pump my fists and shout my joy with everyone else. I do not do that now. I have never done that. And much as I would like to, I never could.
There is nothing more beautiful in my eyes than a male dancer...chorus boy or danseur (male ballet dancer). Yet my excruciating self consciousness—a perverted form of ego, I know—forbids me from even trying to dance. (“No one will be watching you,” my friends used to tell me in my dance-bar-going days. “I'll be watching me” was my standard reply.)
Unfortunately, reality precludes and prevents any chance for a “do over” of my—or your—life. But wouldn't it be nice if we could?
Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to visit his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1).