Monday 9 April 2012

H is for Hindsight

One of my son-in-law's favourite expressions is: "we could all be chairman of the hindsight committee". How true. Hindsight is a terrible, often painful, thing. With hindsight, I would never have:

Failed to make sure that the bannister in my son's house reached the top of the stairs when I was going down them in the dark (result: fractured spine, and several weeks in hospital).

Bought that appallingly expensive blue top, with sparkly bits, which I've only worn once (and then only because I felt I had to, having spent so much on it).

Bought a terrifying thoroughbred mare called Patsy, who threw me around the Wiltshire hills for about four weeks before I admitted defeat ("you should have bought me," said Titch. "You were only a baby then," I told him. "So I couldn't have even if I'd known about you.").

Gone to university, which I loathed (long story).

Allowed Wilbur (our exceptionally stupid ginger cat) to escape when we last moved house. We never saw him again.

I could go on and on, but I won't, for I have a feeling hindsight might kick in again afterwards, muttering about wasted time...

(What single thing would you change, with hindsight?)


  1. Hi, Frances! Hindsight is a terrific word for H! I have several things I would change if I could, but since I can't (bummer!!), there's no sense dwelling on it, LoL!

    Hope you had a great weekend and happy A to Z!!

  2. That banister sounds nasty! I think I'd feel like Cassandra if I had hindsight, because what I'd probably do is persuade a family friend not to go into hospital and have an operation that ended up a medical negligence disaster and killed him. But I don't suppose he'd have taken any notice if I'd said that I knew it would happen - he was the most rational person and never believed in hunches or anything like that. Yep, better not to have it.

  3. Looking at the "big picture", I don't think I would and should have changed much; in the long run, I managed to get something good out of all that happened to me.
    But a relatively recent example is that, in hindsight, I should not have trusted an unreliable acquaintance of mine who asked me to sell her my late husband's computer; it was still quite new and quite good when we started negotiations, then she kept postponing payments for a full year until I finally had enough and sold the computer to someone else, of course not by far getting for it what I could have gotten had I sold it sooner.
    But it's only money, after all.

  4. I love the phrase, "We could all be chairman of the hindsight committee." I must tell my husband that one, as reference to hindsight is one of his favourite ways of making me feel better about mistakes. He is always saying, "But you did what you felt was best at the time. We could all be perfect with the benefit of hindsight." (He also says, "Let me just play devil's advocate" a great deal, but it's necessary in a house full of pig-headed women.)

    With hindsight on my side, I would change the sales-based career-path I blindly followed in the eighties, believing that making money and climbing ladders were all that mattered in life. It was so against my true nature that I cringe to remember myself back then. Also, I was hopeless at it. However, the experience was probably useful in lots of ways and helped me discover eventually how vital it is to be yourself, rather than who you think you ought to be just to fit in with the times.

    And I wish I'd started having children when I was a bit younger so I could have had four or five.

    Fabulous post, Frances. I shivered when I read about the bannisters.

  5. It's a bit like regrets, isn't it? Can't do anything about it once it's done so no use dwelling on all the things we might have done differently. We would would all be very wise indeed if the hindsight became foresight!

  6. With hindsight I'd probably have done a lot of things differently.... or perhaps nothing. Who knows? I don't. But had I taken different decisions I may not have ended up at this stage in my life being content and grateful. Or I may have been even more content and grateful. It's a funny old world.

    Less seriously in hindsight if I hadn't been riding a horse down a steep slope off Helvellyn I wouldn't have fallen off over the edge of the ridge, wouldn't have been saved by the bracken from a long fall, wouldn't have had to get my Dad to come and get me 'cos I broke my collar bone and couldn't drive, wouldn't have..... but I did! So I learned to be grateful 'cos I could have broken my neck.

  7. Love your post, and love the idea of a hindsight committee, but like most committees, I suspect it wouldn't get us anywhere. If we went through life saying 'if only' and 'what if', we could drive ourselves completely bonkers.

  8. Thanks, Laura!

    You're right of cours, Jenny. And yes. The bannister thing was horrible!

    Librarian, we do of course learn lessons. Perhaps if we always knew what was going to happen we wouldn't learn anything!

    Joanna, the "sales based career path" sounds very daunting. Much better to write a best seller...

    Very wise, Rosemary!

    GB, I'm not sure hindsight applies to horses, which are, literally, unpredictable!

    Maggie, you're right!