The year is 2030, you’ve just spent your life savings on purchasing a ticket to ‘reset’ your life. You’ve gone back in time to your first-day of school. You have a chance to live your life again. You have all of your current memories. What would you do differently?
It’s a new great thought experiment from TheSavingNinja. The way thought experiments work is by starting off with a question, like “What would you do if you got given £1 million?”, and the blogger will have to write whatever they first think of. No pre-planning or major editing allowed and blabbering is definitely encouraged! It should read like an internal monologue.
“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood”, the model in the ad had proclaimed. A quote from Tom Robbins, the American novelist.
Ever since I first heard these words, they had held me hostage. It was incomprehensible. With this mind blowing, revolutionary time-warp technology anyone could go back in time. Anyone could reset their lives. In principle.
Only a handful of people had undergone the reset. Why? The complexity for one. Due to the required energy there was only one reset per month. But people weren’t actually standing in line either. The implications for your present self were as mind blowing as the reset itself. You had to pay with everything your owned. Including your life.
You weren’t actually sent back. They performed a split of time and space. And the split universe was a copy of your childhood universe. You were alive in the split version. But your present self had to die.
Suffice to say that the people who really wanted to do the reset didn’t have the money. And that people who were successful and had money didn’t want to do the reset.
But then there was me. I had the money. And the desire. And I was only 10 seconds away from the reset.
Make a space For my body. Dig a hole. Push the sides apart. This is what I’m controlling. It’s a moat The inside that I carve. This will be my monument This will be a beacon when I’m gone Gone, gone When I’m gone Gone, gone When I’m gone So that when the moment comes, I can say I did it all with love Love, love All with love Love, love All with love Make a cast Of my body. Pull back out, So that I can see. Let go of How you knew me. Let go of What I used to be. I will let this monument Represent a moment of my life Life, life Of my life Life, life Of my life I will let this monument Represent a moment of my life Life, life Of my life Life, life Of my life Make a cast Of my body. Pull back out, So that I can see. Let go of How you knew me. Let go of What I used to be.
New Year’s Eve, 1979
The worst winter storm in decades had covered the country in snow. Inside, our family had gathered around the dinner table. Fondue. That was the tradition.
Everything was normal. Except for the fact that I remembered it.
I remembered everything. Everything my other self had ever experienced was right there in my mind. I had all the memories. And I knew I was a reset.
I also knew that although everything looked the same, my new universe would develop in no way like the original. Because of me.
By the way, the plan was that my reset would bring me to my first day in school. But something had gone wrong. Should I complain? Silly. The split was permanent. Things couldn’t be undone.
This is no reset. This is continuity.
That entire self-construal called personal identity felt completely uninterrupted. I was the same person as my other self, this 50-year-old – now dead – version of me.
Biologically I was only 12. Nothing more than a kid. But it took me only a fraction of a second to realize I could never go back and ‘be child again’. The ad in the other universe had been utterly misleading. It was too late to have a happy childhood again. For the very simple reason that being a happy child was synonymous with being innocent and ignorant. I was neither of those.
But I have never regretted any decisions in life. And neither this one. I love fondue!
What I will do differently
There is one thing that I have realized too late. And that is the beauty of exploring, camping in the wild, collecting firewood and making and maintaining a fire.
It’s a metaphor. A metaphor for stepping outside my comfort zone and adapting to new circumstances. That is what has formed me the most. When I look back – or is it forward now that I am 12 again – I realize I should have left my cage much earlier.
I think we all remember specific events in our lives that have shaped us. Both good and bad. As for me, I left my homeland when I was 29. And I never looked back (apart from occasional family visits). The decision to leave has had a profound impact on me. I discovered myself through it and I know that I would have been a totally different person today were it not for that decision back (forward) in 1997.
You develop character and discover yourself by facing the unknown, by taking chances and overcoming obstacles. By inserting adventure into your life.
Insert more adventure into my life. That is the main takeaway from my old universe. Because the journey to truly knowing myself never ends.
In my old universe I used to be an introvert child and was later ‘branded’ an INTP in Meyers-Briggs terms (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Perception). That’s rather accurate. I’ve always been calm, quiet and collected. A good listener, observant and perceptive. I recharge my batteries by being alone.
I’m perfectly okay with this. It’s who I am. Nevertheless, now that I have the chance, I want to develop my outgoing, extrovert side a bit more (I know it is in me). It doesn’t take much. Again, it is a matter of stepping outside my comfort zone.
I said I had no regrets. But now that I think of it, there is maybe one exception. And that is that I chose the silver flute and not the piano when my parents sent me to music school and asked me to pick an instrument. That silver flute has haunted me my entire life. And to this very day I don’t understand what had gotten into me.
Being a DJ was not a thing when I was young. But later on in life I discovered the joy of composing electronic music. It was just a hobby and I never seriously considered to play in clubs, but the great thing about the reset is that I can have another shot at it. Step one: Learn to play a keyboard/piano.
Tomorrow I will tell my mom I choose piano.
This reset is really mind blowing.
Anything I have ever done, I have already done in the future. And I don’t necessarily want to do it again in the past. Follow me?
I will not choose the same career path and become an IT-guy. Been there, done that.
What I do want and what I didn’t do in my old universe until I was semi-old was pursue FIRE. Pursuing FIRE, becoming financially independent and retire early, will be the common thread. What a blessing to understand the power of compound interest already as a 12-year old.
FIRE by the age of 30. That’s my goal.
It’s really amazing how much money my old self has blown throughout the years. I’m not blaming him. How was he supposed to know? But I think I’ll ask my mom to automate my savings. And I better wrap it in child-language, otherwise she’ll think I’ve gone mad.
My little brother. I know how much joy our other-universe road trips have given us. So I think I’ll pull him aside later this evening and suggest we go hiking in Scandinavia next year. I’ll be 13 by then. No, mom will never allow that. She’ll suggest we put up a tent in our garden instead. How boring!
I think my new childhood will be extremely boring. I already know everything, but nobody knows I know everything. So the key question is really this:
Should I play wunderkind or not?
My old knowledge puts me ahead of everyone else. I know when to buy and sell shares in what company for example. I could drop out of school, do nothing and be a millionaire at the age of 30. Guaranteed.
Unless the butterfly effect ruins that.
I am not going to play wunderkind but act as normal as possible. Also, I will not use insider knowledge to become rich without any effort. But I may use a tiny bit of my outsider (old universe) knowledge (got you!).
The thing is that I am in a position to ‘gracefully steal’ from the rich and give to the poor. I’m a reset, not a criminal. I can be a modern Robin Hood.
That’s it. I have found my purpose.
I will live a philanthropic life. A life full of adventure. And meaning. With plenty of time to invest in friendships and relationships. And to play the piano. Be a DJ.
Sorry rich non-resets, I will definitely re-route some of your money to people who need it.
The doorbell rang.
My mom opened the door. Who could that be? This late on New Year’s Eve?
A tall man entered the living room. I had never seen him before. He held a little metal tube in front of my face. It flashed twice. A powerful blue light.
‘We can’t have any outsiders here’, he said to my mom as he left our house.
I quickly forgot about the whole episode. I was way too excited about the rest of the evening, the fireworks and playing with the new home computer my parents had given me.
Did I tell you that I want to become the best computer programmer in the country?
Other FIRE bloggers who have been reset
- What Life Could Be