Several days ago I posted about a daydream I've had of "replaying" my life with all the knowledge and experience I've learned growing up. My first post on the subject was mostly concerned with my overriding purpose: to attempt to forestall climate change. This time around, I'm considering the personal matters.
First of all, I'm very happy with my life and I have few regrets. I have a wonderful network of family, friends, and colleagues, and I'm happy with my career path.
The tragedy of the replay concept is that while one might try to recreate the best parts of one's life and omit the regrets, in practice this will be challenging.
Academically, I think I'd be fine. I should have no trouble at all navigating any grade school or university courses focused on the arts, and while math and science might present some challenges, I should be able to pick up anything I've forgotten. On the whole, I imagine my greater experience and maturity should allow me to do better in school than I did the first time around.
But what about my personal relationships? For one thing, I don't remember the precise circumstances under which I met my dearest friends. With some thought I could recreate many of them, particularly the friendships formed during grade school and university. But even then, how can I create an honest relationship with anyone I knew in my previous life? I'll have decades of experience and memories that would put them at immense disadvantage in the friendship. Much as I'd be desperate to reach out to old friends across the course of my life, my conscience would tell me that they're all off limits.
Unless I allow myself to become monstrous, my replay would be a lonely one. Even with my parents and my little brother, it would be incredibly difficult not to fundamentally alter the way we interact. I would, in effect, be older than my parents, not in body, but in mind.
Relationships with women would be even more fraught. Forget hooking up in my teens (not that I did the first time around). And forget connecting with any women I was with in real life, even my wife--absolutely the most agonizing and tragic aspect of the replay. Meeting Sylvia was the result of years of interconnected friendships and chance; even if I could replay all those events perfectly, the odds of running into Sylvia the same way would be very slim. I could easily seek her out; I know where she worked at the time we originally met in 2002. But what would I say? I'd either have to tell her the truth, that we were married in another life, or I'd have to arrange some kind of "accidental" meet cute and hope for the best, lying to her by omission all the while.
Then there's the fact that my efforts to convince powerful people that I come from the future with a warning about climate change would completely derail my life if I had any measure of success. I'd probably spend the rest of my life as a protected asset of one government or another. In the best case, they'd let me live my life as normally as possible while I gave them as much information as I could about my experience of climate change impacts; in the worst case, they'd consider me a source of intelligence of future events and try to alter the timeline in nefarious ways.
The forces of the universe might decree a replay necessary, but what a hard, lonely road for the replayer.