Second guessing…


Hindsight: the ability to understand an event or situation only after it has happened and some of what might come to mind.  

For starters…

Things we shouldn’t have said or done

Places we shouldn’t have gone

People we let disappear from our lives

Clothes we should never, ever, have worn

Sometimes, our mind plays tricks on us, you know, almost a re-manufacture of past events and, in some cases, good old “revisionist history” (as I love to label it) kicks-in.  That’s where hindsight can get interesting, especially when there are intentional misstatements about things in the past, both recent and distant.  This, mental re-write, can be used where personal issues and relationships are the root of some argument.  Even more likely in cultural and political discussions.

Those in both sides of these situations often do what they accuse someone else of doing and focus only on their preferred narrative.  Their interpretation rigidly declares that some event is just what happened and cannot be questioned.

So what’s the big deal here, you might wonder.  Maybe none, at least not in the practice of “RH” but the danger lies with the collective lives caught in the re-manufacture, the revision of past events.  Then, hindsight sets in.

Do you remember details about your childhood, life in your 20s, your first romance?  How about your parents’ stories and your first job or last day of college?  Maybe you do or possibly, there are some details you choose to either embellish or…forget.  We all have those selective memories about our past and our own actions at different points in time.  Hey, we are all human and that’s what humans do.  We re-write our personal history, not done to deliberately deceive others, or fool ourselves but those memories aren’t always accurate.  In some way, we manage to change things that might have been done differently.

Nope, this isn’t about Alzheimer’s disease or some form of dementia or memory loss…it’s the chemistry of being human. This is about a human trait or character flaw that afflicts most of us, regardless of our memory perception. It’s likely not as much a physiological flaw as it is a psychological one.

Think about a memory that stays clear in your mind.  Then, an old friend or coworker comes along and corrects some experience that you shared.  You remember one way; they remember it in a totally different way.  For a moment, you give it some deep thought and reconsider, realizing that their version may just be the accurate one.  And, of course, your children who share stories of their childhood with a bit more color, even drama, than you remember. 

The actual truth is long gone, like an old friend who died decades ago. Only the essence of their existence now floats around in the recesses of our mind. We may choose to remember them how we want to remember them, not how they should be remembered… honestly, accurately, even harshly.  And, in all of this, there’s hindsight in the role our memories bring to us.  So much of what we might have done differently but did not at that long ago point in time.  I think we all know that some old black-and-white photos are blurred by many gray memories of that time and experience with no chance to change some incident even if you could step inside that picture.


workshop-button-1From Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop…Write a blog post about something you would change if you could go back in time.

I took a sharp right turn with this writing prompt and chose to share what I felt were the dynamics behind wanting to change something from the past.  We’ve all been through this and I feel that, for many, our minds often choose to soften, even erase, a painful or uncomfortable life event. And yes, I doubt if there is anyone out there who doesn’t wonder how a long-ago situation might change if we just had to chance for a do-over.



  1. Patty,

    Past memories do get lost in the time translation. We often remember the feelings associated with memory instead of the event itself which can and often does get told inaccurately. I’ve questioned many things from my past and if it’s really negative then I assume I’m not remembering it correctly. I rather give people and circumstance the benefit of the doubt that I might be wrong. That being said, I prefer to see past stories through rose colored glasses with everyone I love happy. We can’t change the past but we can savor the sweet fragrance of a forgotten time. That’s the problem with the world today, folks want to hold on to anger and bitter feelings making themselves miserable for decades, even a life time. That’s really, really sad! Great post, my dear.

    Curious as a Cathy

    • Patty says:

      Letting go of old thoughts, old ways, can really be a difficult task for many, Cathy. Maybe, for some, it’s just easier to remain negative as they lack the ability to move beyond their perceived unhappiness.

      You mentioned “sweet fragrance of a forgotten time” and that grabbed me. Made me think of balmy summer nights and honeysuckle. Thanks for that!

      • Patty,

        Yes, yes sweet fragrance of a forgotten time does resonate with me as well as honeysuckle filled summer nights carried along the gentle breeze straight to my nose. Mmm, how lovely! We have a ton of honeysuckle that grows along our property and I love stiffing it in the evenings when we’re outdoors. It takes me back to my childhood. 🙂

  2. Kathy says:

    The older I get, the less I trust any of my memories. The other day I was talking to my Mom about how I remember my brother pushing our Dad up a ramp into our van. My mom was adamant that we never had a wheelchair ramp on our van. There’s no way I could have seen that. And yet…that was my memory! I really thought it to be true. How many more am I getting wrong!? lol There’s definitely a whole lot at stake when we cling to our narrative as the only truth. This was thought provoking!

    • Patty says:

      Interesting, Kat. Your family did have a van so there must have been some incident that you honestly do recall. Frankly, if there was no van, I might question your memory. Why not jog your brother\’s brain and see what he recalls?

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