If I could travel to the past, 13 things I would do differently (without risking my current existence)

Time travel is a dangerous piece of business.

I have argued that the greatest super power - without question - would be the ability to travel in time. That said, I have also argued that I would prefer that this power only send our hero forward in time, to see the disasters that loom ahead and perhaps prevent them, rather than travel back in time and potentially unravel everything that has already happened. 

With that in mind, I thought about my own past. I am supremely happy with where I am today and would never risk the existence of my wife and children in order to change something in the past, but if I could go back in time and change something, I wondered what I might change that would not risk my present state of being. 

So I made a list. It's short, because large scale changes could alter my entire future. Though I would like to avoid being arrested and tried for a crime I did not commit or the armed robbery that has led to a lifetime of post traumatic stress disorder, those experiences helped me to land where I am today. I had to be careful and choose only those moments that are worth changing but would also not alter the course of my life to any great degree. 

Keeping these parameters in mind, here is my list of things I would change in my past if given the opportunity:  

  • Complete my Eagle Scout service project earlier - before a car accident interfered with my dream of becoming an Eagle Scout 
  • Listen to audiobooks sooner rather than thinking of them as "not real reading"
  • Don’t turn down that possible threesome opportunity I had when I was 19 years old
  • Begin playing golf by taking actual lessons and not the occasional advice of friends who clearly did not have my best interests at heart
  • Visit my mother more often before her death 
  • Punch Glenn Bacon in the face after he threw a music stand into mine in eleventh grade
  • Visit with Laura - my high school girlfriend - more often before her death and assure her that I would keep my promise
  • Complete my Master’s program both slowly and efficiently rather than quickly and expensively
  • Attend my grandfather's funeral
  • Increase the cost of my DJ service much earlier in my company's career
  • Don't call Pirate - our dog - back across the street and into the path of a speeding pickup truck while waiting to be picked up for Sunday school
  • Keep my flute in a safe place, stop lending it to students who forgot their flutre, and ultimately prevent its theft from my classroom
  • Make that investment in Citigroup in 2008 that I talked about constantly but failed to execute