If you could turn back time (but keep your current memories), how far back would you go?

Everybody hates hindsight.

Well, I say that. Maybe it isn’t true for the few lucky souls who look back in their life and decide honestly that they wouldn’t have it any other way, but for the rest of us, there are quite a few things we wish we could have done differently.

If you could turn back the dial on time and go back for a one-time reversal, how far back would you go, and why?

Maybe you’ve memorized a particular lottery number, and you buy a ticket a few days before the lottery is drawn in the hopes that the butterfly effect of your altered presence hasn’t been able to reach the extent of affecting lottery results yet.

But then what would you do with all that money? I bet whatever mistakes you make differently, there’s a good chance you’d be much better off with than without the millions of dollars.

Of course, if you’ve actually memorized past lottery numbers for any purpose other than amusement (eg. if you genuinely think you can find a time machine), then you’re an idiot. You’re obviously safer and better off investing in a company you know will be successful (or bitcoin works too), at least stocks are less likely to be affected by you suddenly magically gaining 3 years of future memory. I mean seriously absolutely any minor change will distort the lottery results, its just not a safe bet – unless you have disposable income in which case go ahead and do both.

There are other, better ways to profit from a time reversal. For example, if you go back to being a 6 year old, you would essentially be a 6 year old with the knowledge and wisdom of a your current age person. You could exploit being a super smart 6 year old to achieve anything you want, plus the further back you go, the more potential you have. If you’re a 100 year old dialing back 90 years, you’ve essentially doubled your life span. You’ll be the only person in the universe with 100 years of real life experience and a working brain.

I’m currently 18. If I could reverse time, I would go back at least 3 years. Maybe even 5 years, but that would be pushing it. I would not want to experience the powerlessness of childhood again. If I dialed time back 3 years, I could perhaps use my current academics to convince my parents that I do not need to waste an entire summer to earn myself a computer via minimal wage labor at a shitty local church (I would certainly waste a year less in thinking that there’s a relevant god). I would pass SATs, IGCSEs, and IB mock exams with such flying colors (2000 SAT score, Bs in IGCSE, 6s in IB meh but not bad) that my parents would just be compelled to fully back my electronic endeavors without having me do actual work.

But, I won’t be gaming for 3 years, because I’ve played through all of the Call of Duty and Call of Duty clones singleplayer campaigns already. I’ve finished everything Battlefield from Bad Company 2 to Battlefield 4, I’ve finished both Medal Of Honor games, I’ve played every Call of Duty from CoD 2 to CoD Advanced Warfare, I’ve finished Homefront, and both Far Cry 3 games, and the Arma 3 campaign. I tried all 3 Crysis games and hated it so no loss there. I’m not gonna waste another hundred or so hours of my life on games and the 3 years worth of Movies and TV Shows that I’ve already watched.

Sure, it would be interesting to see how much the butterfly effect of my time reversal has changed contemporary media, but for the most part I would have 3 years to do things I would otherwise never have time for. For one thing, I would do more sports and get ripped. I hate ball games but am partial to rowing and biking, and having nothing new on Youtube or TV would mean that I would need some other perhaps healthier way to kill time.

In addition, I’m not gonna waste 3 years of my time paying attention in class when I’ve already done so. I might even drop out and get a head start on college. I was already looking for a fresh start years ago, I’m getting a fresh start now but I wouldn’t mind to have expedited that and gotten a college experience sooner.

If I went back 3 years, I could’ve prevented my mother from feeding my dying grandma some Christian bullshit. I could have put hiccups on the various evangelisms that my mother accomplished, maybe even use my grandmother’s death to de-convert my mother, and I would have 3 years worth of philosophical outlook to back it up.

I had a crush on someone 3 years ago. While in the last 3 years I rationalized my lack of dating as there being nobody good-looking and single in a male-majority school, I could’ve at least talked to her, maybe befriended her or something. Of course, in practice that would mean a mentally 18 year old boy hitting on a 15 year old girl, which while not uncommon (the 18/15 part, not the time travelled to the past part) is nevertheless slightly (statutory rapey?), I suppose.

If I turned back time 3 years, I would not make the mistakes that I’ve made in the past in masturbating, which I will not go into detail here.

If I behaved 3 years ago as I behave now, I would be a much more respectable person. I probably would get harassed and bullied less.

Knowing what I know now about my purchases, I would save a LOT of money on unnecessary spending.

Having my current writing and vocal skills, I’d certainly make better rap. I would also know how to whistle, a skill which I only figured out in July.

There’s so much that could have gone better with only 3 years of time reversal, except that I wouldn’t have gone back far enough to prevent my circumcision. And I would have to redo the 99999999s of words I’ve typed, the songs I’ve recorded, the videos I’ve made, the articles I wrote over the past 3 years. But that just means an opportunity to improve upon many of the things I’ve made, although I simply cannot replicate some of the musical compositions I made in the past.

But, 3 years because it’s not an eternity from 2014, don’t forget that bay trail tablets (eg. ASUS T100) and cheap android phones with IPS Gorilla Glass and 4G (ASUS Zenfone 4G) did not exist back in 2011, and Oculus Rift consumer version still isn’t being released yet. Go back too much and I’ll start missing the modern conveniences.

Anyway, that’s me. My question for you – my dedicated nonexistent followers – is: If you could turn back time but keep your current memories, how far back would you go? What hardships would you be willing to re-overcome? What would you do differently, and what are the risks?

Leave your answer in the comments below, and tell me I’m not the only one stuck in the past.


11 thoughts on “If you could turn back time (but keep your current memories), how far back would you go?

  1. I’m 59, and I’d go back to my birth. It’s taken me 56 years to realize what I am capable of – 56 years absolutely wasted (I’ve spent the past 3 years moving forward). I don’t normally focus on the past since there’s nothing I can do to change it… but you asked. 🙂

    • Really? I’d at least skip infancy – y’know not being able to walk, teething and all that, plus babies don’t generally get anesthetics so any medical stuff will be painful. But hypotheticals.
      I think hindsight fantasy is sort of like alcohol – it’s depressing, but in a somewhat gratifying way.

      • If I knew then what I know now… that would certainly include knowing how to say, “Hey, that hurts!!” 🙂 I do like the thought of being a child prodigy, that’s not my main goal of starting that early. I just want as much time as possible to become, and be, what I now know I can be.

  2. I’m currently 16 years old, i’d like to turn back time back to a day just before i entered Elementary School.
    Why? Because i’ve wasted all the time i could’ve used to develop myself in my strengths, like chess and math. I want to turn back time, and work hard from there, because i’ve only a few months ago realized what i really want for my future. It would mean the world to me, if i am able to turn back time with my current memories

    • I feel you man.
      For people today you’re either in a education system where you spend too much time “finding yourself” and not knowing what you want to do, or you’re in a stereotypically “asian” situation where your ideal career path has been mapped out by your parents so much that by the time you figure out what you want, you’re in college completing your degree and unless you’re reasonably affluent it won’t be feasible to change directions, and even then you’d still be catching up on n years of learning.
      It took me a while to figure out that being a pilot was one of the few jobs I’m okay with and probably capable of doing, while a career in philosophy writing would be the preferred option if I get discovered, but would I have liked to have known about this earlier? Of course.
      It would certainly simplify things if you knew what you wanted (and what was best/feasible for you) right from the beginning.
      I yearn for the days when a computer program can accurately analyze a person’s personality and health etc, and via that suggest career options that are both feasible, and one that the person would enjoy doing.

      • Yes, i am Asian, i live in Indonesia, education here sucks, we get heavy homeworks and they’re not even to our major. Education here is generalized, not spesialized…

        • All kids need a certain level of common sense knowledge, but I get what you’re saying about education being specialized. It’s just more practical to specialize because a person’s learning capacity is not unlimited.

        • I guess it would be pretty cool to conceal your intelligence, and get rewarded more for exceeding expectations. Once you reveal your time travel, you’d probably be treated less as child prodigy and more as midget.

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