Mind the Gap: If you could go back in time, would you change anything in your life, what would that be, and why?

Each week, we present the same question to three people from three very different generations. This week…

Nicola Chan |
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Parul Methi, 14, KGV:

I wouldn’t change anything in my life, because it would have a negative effect on who I am right now.

Memories shape a person. I am who I am today because of everything that happened before. Every single little thing that’s ever happened to me occurred for a reason. I fell off my bike countless times, but it taught me not to be afraid of falling. I obtained terrible marks on tests, but it taught me to work harder the next time. In return, I gained better grades.

I believe in the butterfly effect – a single occurrence, no matter how small, can have a huge impact on life later. Ray Bradbury wrote a science fiction short story called A Sound of Thunder which perfectly depicts the butterfly effect. In the story, a group travels back to the past to hunt dinosaurs. But one hunter strays off the path and steps on a butterfly. When they return to the present, they are surprised to see the world has changed for the worse.

How does this relate to me? I believe that changing even a very small thing in my past would have a big impact on who I am today. This worries me because I know I don’t want anything about me or my personality to change.

Mind the Gap: What superpower would you want for a day, and why?

Sarah Rose, 29, pub landlady:

No, I would not. I had a long hard think about this question, and I thought of many possibilities, such as spending more time with my granny before she died when I was 16, spending more time with my mum while we were grieving for my granny, and going to the doctor and taking my anti-depressant medication sooner.

But I very strongly believe that everything happens for a reason, and as a very big Star Trek fan, I like the word “Kaiidth”, which in the Vulcan language, roughly means “What is, is” (one has to accept what cannot be changed). From watching many a Dr Who episode with my husband, it has been ingrained in me that even the slightest thing can change the future entirely. And if I made any changes to my past, there would be no future as I know it. I would not be able to have the same friends or husband, and I may even have a completely different relationship with my family.

My life is not perfect, nor is it what I ever dreamt of as a child, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it. I don’t want it to change by changing the past. I want it to change by me changing the present.

Mind the Gap: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?

Chan Wai-fong, 75, housewife:

Of course I would go back in time if it was possible! We all make mistakes; while some can be taken as life lessons, I don’t mind changing some others. One thing I regretted is overlooking the details of daily life. In hindsight, I think I neglected my own health.

If I had the opportunity to change anything, I would have changed my mind, and realised the importance of exercise, such as stretching. Who knows, perhaps my joints could have been functioning much more smoothly now! Also, I would have asked my family to do the same.

Edited by M. J. Premaratne

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