I reset my lawn sprinkler timer, which was more than an hour off due to the spring ritual known as daylight saving time. Rather than move it one hour ahead, I decided to let it run backward. It was mesmerizing to see time back up — so much so that when I reached the desired time, I didn’t stop. I let it go back another 24 hours and then another, one hour at a time.
As the numbers counted backward, I let my mind wander. If I could, would I want to relive the time that has passed? Would I want to put my life on rewind?
At first, the idea was exhilarating. I would get another chance to accept or reject all those credit card offers that brought me to my knees. Having the chance to apply all that I know now to my life the way it was then — surely that would change the course of my life dramatically.
The more I thought, the more I rejected the idea. If I couldn’t do things perfectly the first time around, would I get it right the second time? Or would I want a third, fourth or even fifth try? Knowing me, that would be a real problem; I’d get stuck in an endless loop of trying to live life perfectly.
As ashamed as I am about all the boneheaded decisions I made and things I did, and as much as I might want to right those wrongs, everything that has happened in my life brings me to the place I am right now.
While I may not be proud of each individual choice I’ve made, the choices are woven together into an intricate pattern, a tapestry that is my life.
Just like any piece of stitchery, a tapestry has a wrong side and a right side. The back is where all the knots and mixed-up threads hide. When you turn it over, it can be amazing to see how all of those random pieces of thread work together to become something beautiful.
I couldn’t help but think about the beautiful word “redemption” — the act of buying back or repurchasing something that has been pawned or mortgaged. As I repaid the horrific debt I ran up so many years ago, I got my life back one dollar at a time. I realized final redemption when the debt was fully repaid.
I finally got the sprinkler’s clock set correctly. With great relief, I shut the little door and walked away, in real time. I walked into a new day, an unspoiled 24 hours. It was an opportunity to do things right, to make good choices and wise decisions.
We don’t have to turn back time to clean the slate. That’s what we do every morning. Today, make your clean slate count. Make this a day filled with joy and wise decisions that never will make you wish you could turn back time.
Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, “Ask Mary.” Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog and the author of the book Debt-Proof Living.