I realize that I continue to whine about the “Time/Space Crashers” that EA introduces into the game. Whether you are a fan of “Back to the Future” or any other number of time travel movies and books, the fact is…the way time travel is portrayed in popular culture just isn’t real. Altering events from the past…even the smallest diversion from a chance interaction, can have untold ramifications on future events that could be mind-boggling. But time flows forward…not backward. And this is a good thing.
I got the “Younger, more attractive version” of Homer Wednesday. And now, being free of the “Daily Grind” of this event, I have plenty of time to ponder bigger questions…
Looking back, with an option to change something. The that’s a big one.
Yes…there are countless daily decisions that “could/woulda/shoulda” been better choices. But to the contrary, you never know when leaving a few minutes earlier or later to work, may have resulted in you missing getting nailed at an intersection by a driver who is playing TSTO on his phone, while trying to drive (Don’t Tap and Drive!).
So when someone like “Teenage Homer” shows up as a permanent alternate Homer…to wander around interacting with the rest of the “here and now,” it makes me cranky…and makes me look back at my own life in ways that may cause regret or recrimination…
Until I look at ALL of my life after a “life altering event,” and what happened after.
Case in point…and a very personal look at a snap decision that shaped my life forever.
One night, after winning a football game in college, I decided to “celebrate” with a past girlfriend of mine. We had been on and off for a couple of years…and hadn’t seen one another since the previous Spring term. One thing led to another…and in an instant of throwing caution and common sense to the wind…my life changed.
Two months later…I was planning a wedding and dropping out of school for what I thought would be a term or two. Nine months later, I was a father of my first child, and realized that college needed to be on hold, perhaps permanently, to support my new family. The marriage didn’t last…but fatherhood, did…along with another child. The late 70s offered countless struggles during a full-blown recession, without the benefit of a college diploma. Events bore down to make life “interesting.”
That is the first chapter…of what could have turned out to be a modern day Dickens book.
In the ensuing years, I followed my dreams to go back into music and production (a long way away from my original college education in teaching). I met “my REAL WIFE and love of my life, Deb,” who instantly bonded with my two young children. And together, we went on to a lifetime of adventures. Add to the mix three more girls…who have since all been married (except for the youngest) and more grandkids than you can count on one hand. My daughters are all amazing, successful, wonderful people with amazing kids of their own. We love one another and can’t imagine life today, and what the future will bring, when looking back to the “minute in history that changed my life forever.”
None of it would have happened if I had just decided to “hang out with friends” that fateful night in 1974. None of it.
Yes…it took loads of hard work and creativity. And there are countless business decisions, and bumps along the way. But would I change any of it? Nope.
Is there any way to know how one of my grandchildren will shape the world? Or one of my great grandchildren? Nope.
So…when someone asks me, “If you could go back and change anything in your life, what would it be?” I laugh, and say, “Not a thing. Time, Events, and Free Will are too important to mess with. Oh. Wait…I might have had honey on my peanut butter toast, instead of jelly this morning…”
That’s really what life is about. The knowledge that you can only change the FUTURE by every action you take in life. You always have the choice to decide how you react to every curve, every twist, every bump in the road that life offers you. It’s not about the challenges that life throws you…it’s how you react, adapt and evolve to those challenges.
So, when we win “Teenage Homer,” (which many of you have already), you get a “slice of two lives” dialogue that starts the whole, “I wonder if…” conversation in our minds.
Teenage Homer: I fall asleep under our tree and you go crazy. You seem different too. Did you change your hair?
Marge: Our tree? Homie we haven’t been back there since… Wait, you’re not my Homie, you’re from the past.
Homer: Marge, who is this devilishly good-looking fellow?
Task: Make Teenage Homer Make Himself at Home in Simpsons House (4h, Simpson House)
Task: Make Homer Regret Life Decisions at Simpsons House
And later on…
Teenage Homer: Older Marge, cookie dough ice cream, hair! I could learn to love this place.
Homer: Whoa, slow down, handsome me. I’m sure you’ve still got stuff to do in the past.
Marge: But Homie, you just got here. At least stay for dinner.
Homer: Marge, he’s not me! I’m the one who stays for dinner before and after going to Moe’s!
Teenage Homer: I couldn’t disappoint Marge. And by observing Homer, I can get to know myself better while I’m here.
Homer: I don’t want young me watching old me doing me things!
Funny stuff…yet it could also be a gateway to introspection. And at least for me, knowing what I know now, and having lived almost 45 years past that key event that changed my life irrevocably, I wouldn’t change a thing. In fact, there is no way I would want to go back to being who I was then. I have evolved, through the choices and actions I have taken since that time in my life. Was it hard? Yes. Did it make me a better person. Without question.
Anyone who has lived a rich, full life, has done so by overcoming adversity, and learning to adapt. Success in life is measured not by what we accumulate, but by how much we are loved, and how much love we give back. For me…looking into the smiling faces of my children and grandchilren make every bit of struggle and sacrifice worth it. And, that is what “fulfillment” is all about.
Being content is wonderful…but constantly evolving, constantly challenging yourself to do more, only lifts those up around you to be better by your example.
Go back? No thanks. And I’m not sure why EA thinks having permanent reminders of “what could/should/may be” wandering around town is a great idea. I don’t believe in pre-determination by a higher power. I do believe that a higher power may have given us the greatest gift of all, Free Will. The ability to make decisions…and then continue to adapt, change, and evolve with every new decision.
Never look back with regret. Learn from your choices and move on. Every moment is a gift…only NOW matters.
And speaking of doing something that could alter countless lives in the future… and is a gift that gives to you as well as those who benefit…
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