One of the most popular topics in the history of science-fiction has been the idea of time travel. In literature and cinema, this topic has been exploited uncountable times. We know and love such works as H.G. Wells’ “Time Machine”; H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Out of Time”; Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder”; King’s “The Langoliers”; as well as numerous films and TV shows: “Back to the Future,” “Butterfly Effect,” and “Timecop.” These, as well as many others are dedicated mostly to one question: how can an individual affect or even change his or her entire life in the present by making even slight corrections in his or her own past? In my opinion, this is one of the most common, natural, and essential questions.
When I was a child, I often dreamed about a special pocket device that would allow me to “save” certain moments of my life, so that in case I failed to do something, I could always “load” my life from a checkpoint, already possessing a certain level of experience—exactly how they do it in video games. I imagined the things I could do if I had such power: jumping from skyscrapers without a parachute (and “loading” in the last second); traveling across savannas, jungles, and deserts; racing and performing other risky occupations. I especially liked to think about saving people from desperate and dangerous situations when others could not help; I guess every boy dreams of being a superhero, and I was no exception.
As I grew older, my life experience gradually became more diverse. In many situations, I had no idea how to act properly, what decisions to make, what path to follow; naturally, I made mistakes. While many of my actions back then turned out for the good in the future, some mistakes provided for many painful moments for me and people around me. Mistakes are inevitable, but they allow us to learn, develop ourselves, and motivate us to change for the better—and still sometimes I would like to leap into a time machine, go back a couple of years ago, and make corrections.
Would I try to make other people act in a different way? I think no. I would rather warn myself about the awaiting consequences of my most reckless decisions. I would talk to a long-haired teen holding his first cigarette and tell him: “Don’t do that—years will pass until you finally manage to quit.” Or: “Man, don’t go there—you don’t need to see what is going on in that place tonight.” “Whoa! Don’t drive so fast, pal!” Perhaps, one of the most important warnings would be: “Don’t push her away now—you could be happy together.” So many warnings I would give to myself that sometimes I think: was it really me who did this and that?
Having a time machine is an amazingly attractive idea. It seems having one would make life so much easier! Perhaps, it is true. But what I think more often now is that living without this aggregate teaches us responsibility. This is perhaps the most important responsibility: about oneself, about important people to us, about one’s own life, which is the only one we have. And besides, our mistakes make us what we are today. Today I am a person leading a healthy, active lifestyle; I care about my friends and family; I think about my share of responsibility in everything that is going on in my life; I try to live each day at the maximum in order to regret nothing.
If I could go back in time, I would try to make my future better. This is what our parents always try to do when we are children. But you know what? I am glad that no time machine has been invented.
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