Stop dwelling on the ‘if onlys’

I’m sitting here at Kymoto Train Station in Japan, going mad at myself for all the ‘if onlys’ of things I could have changed about my routine this morning to get to the train station early enough to not miss my train. The one to get me to work on time. The one that I missed by only seconds…

I watched the train start to take off imagining some super powers coming over me so I could jump onto the back of it, clinging on for life and somehow crawl into the carriage and relax for the short journey to work. Then as I felt the cold wind rush across my face, I was brought back to reality, stepped back and looked up to discover the next train wasn’t for another 15 minutes!

‘If only I didn’t wait for the wrong set of lights instead of seeing the station on the other side of the road, if only I didn’t stop for that last minute pee before leaving the house, if only I waited til later today to reply to my boss’ email, if only I ….’

If only.

Before I left Australia someone told me we can’t live life thinking ‘if only’. We have to live in the moment, making the most of what we’ve got, be it time, experiences and so on. I thought I understood this then and there, but it’s not until I’ve been overseas for more than a month, finding my own two feet in a foreign country, having been thrown into the deep end with a new job outside my skill sets and learning more about life in general, that I’ve been able to fully appreciate and reflect on the true meaning of this comment.

There are always going to be ‘if onlys’ in life. We can’t change the past, we can’t predict the future, but we can start to make changes to our way of thinking.

We should try not to dwell on these ‘if onlys’ but use the situations we find ourselves in as a learning curve. If we try to see everything as a positive, an opportunity to learn from, it will help change our outlook on life and might help to shape our future.

Now I know I need to leave earlier, walk faster, and not get lost! And after all, if I did it differently this morning I might still have been sitting on this seat (only earlier) thinking of the if onlys..if only I left later I could have had 5 minutes more sleep!

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2 thoughts on “Stop dwelling on the ‘if onlys’

  1. Very well written Emma, I love the positive attitude towards ‘if only’. Sometimes that ‘if only’ can lead you down a whole new path, meeting people you would have missed, avoiding things you would normally run into. it can lead to the unexpected and sometimes great opportunities.
    – Sam

    1. Thanks Sam! Exactly, there’s no point focusing on the negatives… You can’t change what has happened, so why not make the most of it!

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