I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now!

A few weeks ago I received Sally Cronin’s invitation to participate in a series of posts that would explore the idea of “I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now!”

Sally Cronin writes: “I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.”

Serendipity was at work. The timing of Sally’s invitation was optimal because plans were in place to meet up with my siblings in Victoria, British Columbia to celebrate my youngest brother’s early retirement.

Milestones are both an ending and a beginning that create a pause, a space to reflect on where we have been, what we have learned, and what comes next in our life. It is a time of thankfulness, even if there are moments of uncertainty on what is waiting for us around the corner.

Life presents many challenges as well as opportunities, grieving as well as gladness. At 18, I envisioned a much different life than the one that I lived. When I look back, I realize that every success, every disappointment, every joy, every regret, every decision has led me to where I am at this present moment. These experiences and memories are embedded within my soul, giving me strength and joy as I continue on my timeline.

A special thank you to Sally Cronin for her enthusiastic support of creative endeavours.

I am honoured that she included me in the “Then and Now” series, alongside brilliant writers and storytellers. Sally creates compassionate communities that span the globe.

I invite you to meet up with Sally on her blog Smorgasbord Blog Magazine, which was created to be a watering hole that provides a wide number of topics to chat about. It is a place that welcomes lively conversations and fresh perspectives.

Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

47 thoughts on “I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now!

    1. I had to look for that photo, Carolyn. YIKES!! I remember that day as if it were yesterday and yet it was taken decades in the past. I didn’t know whether my voice would come through the noise of the engine. I crossed my fingers on this video. What better place to talk about transition when in transit. Life goes Zoom Zoom!!! Sending hugs your way.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks for your invitation to participate in this series alongside brilliant creatives, Sally. Your thoughtful question allowed us to look back and celebrate the life that has been given. Sending many hugs and love back your way.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks, Shey. When I read your comments, you reminded me that our lives are like a kaleidoscope, with mirrors and pieces of coloured glass producing changing patterns. Isn’t it fun to dance in the midst of the light and colours?!! Sending hugs your way.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This is the theme that accompanies me at this age. I had to think about it more often in the last steps of my life, and I wished; what-ifs! I could make up for a lot. But you are right! We have to be grateful for our experiences and be aware of them. Thank you, Rebecca, thank you, Sally Cronin. 🙏🤗

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I was just thinking the same thing, Alaedin! If I was able to go back in time with what I know now, my experiences would be different because they would be influenced by my age and learnings. I just spoke with my mother Frances, a few minutes ago, who said that whatever has come before has prepared us for this present moment. We are meant to live now – not in the past or in the future. Many thanks for your visit and comments – very much appreciated.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I can visualize being on that ferry, Rebecca. We took a ferry to Victoria, but it must have been larger because it could accommodate our car.

    Your philosophical tone on the video matches my take on life too: Life is a series of stories, which I wrote in my memoir, Mennonite Daughter. Like you, my life has turned out better than I imagined.

    Blessings as you honor your brother’s retirement. Milestones are SO important. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We were on the same ferry as you were, Marian. It just looks different when you are on the deck. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to travel on the ferry together. Maybe one day. We must talk about your memoir, Marian. Let me know if you would like to be a guest on TTT.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rebecca, to repeat what I wrote on Sally’s blog, this is a wise and wonderful and inspiring video — with a gorgeous backdrop. As so many in the blogging community know, you and your posts and podcasts and poetry recitations are a treasure.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you, Dave for your heartwarming and encouraging comments. I remember when my father told me, in one of our last conversations, to find the stories, to preserve and honour them. I was just in a phone conversation with Frances a couple of minutes ago. We talked about being happy in each stage of life, of accepting what comes, the joys and sadnesses. I often think of Helen Keller’s thought of “life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” We are on a grand adventure – together!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I wish you many more Experiences, dear Rebecca, and to store all your memories in your already quite heavy rucksack:) All the best for your and your brothers future and thanks for this very special tour you have taken me on.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “Heavy Rucksack!! A brilliant symbol, Martina, for the privilege of living. The beauty of aging is that we have memories of all that has come before – the milestones, the world events, the people who we have met along the way. Being in the present is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. I am delighted that you joined me virtually on the ferry to Victoria. I love our conversations.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You have “brilliantly” summarized life, Rebecca:) Let’s hope that there are not to many regrets of our mistakes in our Rucksack.
        The memories of our conversations are certainly in that precious bag.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve no doubt this wondering or the like, goes back to Methuselah’s 3074 BC, just a little before my time. Reading Sally Cronin’s words, of one wondering about the difference it might have made if a younger we had had the benefit and knowledge of time’s years experience, has me think of George Bernard Shaw’s words “that youth was wasted on the young”. Nice touch Rebecca, your live delivery while crossing on the ferry!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, I do love that quote “youth was wasted on the young,” Jean-Jacques. Taking the ferry from Tsawwassen to Victoria is one of my favourite trips especially on a sunny day with calm waters. I was concerned that my voice would not be heard over the noise of the engines. As well, there was interference with the WIFI, but I thought that being in transit was a great place to talk about transitions. It is good to have travel come back into our lives!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I absolutely loved listening to your story! You have captured the importance of celebrating life as it happens. This is such wise advice. it is said that we are every age we have ever been. All of it matters. I believe you still have that smile you had at eighteen. That young girl with a spirit for adventure is alive and well! i am so glad that you bring those adventures to life for others to celebrate along with you. (You might be on a ferry, or in a park, or reading a poem in the garden; you take us there in words and pictures.) Thank you! Congrats to your brother on his early retirement!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Linda you have a marvelous way of expressing an idea and emotional nuance. What I love about photography is that it is the only mechanism that can stop time, crystallize a moment, a memory. I remember when that photo was taken as if were yesterday. I will pass on your best wishes to my brother on his early retirement. Another adventure awaits him, just as it does for all of us. As Gandalf from J.R.R. Tolkien’s LOTR said, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
      Sending hugs along with my gratitude for your visit and comments.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. How very well said, Barb. We are in the present moment that continues to move us ever forward. When I was 15 or 16, I read The Bridge of San Luis Rey. I will never forget these words – I have carried them with me through the decades.

      “We ourselves shall be loved for awhile and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.” Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey

      This moment is what has been given – I want to infuse it with the best of what I am now.

      I am delighted that we connected!!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you, Sally and Rebecca, for this delightful podcast, and for the beautiful video of the blue waters Thank you, too for the mention of your brother’s retirement. It was a treat to meet up with Brian to celebrate his retirement and also his brother, Wesley, and sister, Sarah and to able to enjoy the beautiful gardens together as four siblings! I appreciate your description of our lives as a story, how very true! Our own story develops as we live from day to day! Thank you for posting your picture from the past, really beautiful! ! It is good to be able to share our story with others! !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We had a wonderful time, didn’t we!? We made memories that week. I agree that our own story develops as we live from day to day. Have you ever noticed that extraordinary events occur during ordinary moments. Sometimes, It is only in retrospect that the a full understanding events and experience occurs.

      I think of the poem by William Wordsworth “I Wondered Lonely as a Cloud” which articulate this idea in the last lines:

      For oft, when on my couch I lie
      In vacant or in pensive mood,
      They flash upon that inward eye
      Which is the bliss of solitude;
      And then my heart with pleasure fills,
      And dances with the daffodils.

      Sending hugs along with my thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for posting the short poem, so very fitting! ! I have been rethinking our really lovely trip to the Island, and am reminded of the time spend on the deck watching the water as we passed and on the inside as well, enjoying the comfort of the soft benches. Such special memories! !

        Liked by 2 people

  8. You gave a beautiful response to the invitation, Rebecca. I loved your positivity and your enjoyment of the now. A lovely tribute to Sally in the end too. I hope you enjoyed your brother’s celebration. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We had a wonderful time together in Victoria. It was the first time we were altogether for several years. What I have learned over the years is that it is good to look back and good to plan for the future, but it does come with a caveat. We use present time to do this and so our present moves into the future even as we plan or remember. Time is inflexible in our existence. I am learning to dance to the beat of my heart within this context. Sally is an extraordinary force for good in our community. I am honoured that she invited me to participate alongside brilliant creatives.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. OMG! Your best post, EVER!!!!
    Rebecca, you are an amazing person. Your love of all of the arts is a joy. You are generous of spirit, pick up on the good things we all offer up and let us know how fab we are.
    Well,I want you to Know YOU ARE FAB!
    Adore you! {{{hugs}}}

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I think that’s a case with every single person. We are much smarter at older age, but so much lacking the energy and blind belief in any opportunity that comes our way as it was at young age.
    I never thought I’d survive what I did, to be honest, nobody thought I would, and that changed everything – closed many doors and opened a few others. Still, one cannot back what they lost, especially – time.
    My personal experience is that many mistakes came from not listening to warnings of my parents. Then, my daughter did the same. There are avoidable evils, but most people at young age are convinced they know everything and know better.
    Over years, we learn to accept the past and what happened, but that does not give back the lost years, in my case, spent at hospital and surgeries.
    Is there any person who can say they acted at 18 as smartly as they would at 68? I personally don’t think so since our knowledge comes from experience and widening horizons.
    Your post was a good inspiration, it also makes me think, we all have more things in common than it appears at the first glance.
    Have a good weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Inese – many many thanks for adding so much to this conversation. I agree wholeheartedly that one cannot bring back “time”. It is a precious commodity that runs out. What I am coming to realize is that I need to live in the time of my age, because that is my present. A few years ago, I read Mary Catherine Bateson’s book “Composing a Further Life” which allowed me to explore and rethink the concept of achievement as well as the aging process. This quote stood out for me:

      …as we age we have not only to readdress earlier developmental crises but also somehow to find the way to three affirmations that may seem to conflict. … We have to affirm our own life. We have to affirm our own death. And we have to affirm love, both given and received.”

      I agree wholeheartedly with you thought: “Our knowledge comes from experience and widening horizons.” I am glad that we are sharing this amazing time together. We are on a grand adventure. Sending hugs!!

      Liked by 1 person

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