Thought Experiment #3 – The Time Machine

Looks like I am going to get drawn in again to one of The Saving Ninja’s Thought Experiments.

This time the premise is;

The year is 2030, you’ve just spent your life savings on purchasing a ticket to ‘reset’ your life. You’ve gone back in time to your first-day of school. You have a chance to live your life again. You have all of your current memories. What would you do differently?

This post may jump around a lot because this has been a reoccurring fantasy of mine for some time now.

First off, if we truly mean first day of school as in, ‘I am a five year old with my current memories’ then I  would TOTALLY plan on presenting myself as either an Alien or the Devil.

Sort of like that scene in The Omen where Damien is freaking out his history teacher at the military academy by knowing all the dates. Picture that on an insane scale that would be burning up YouTube.

I would toy with humanity driving us into a direction of my choosing.

Perhaps something benign like respecting the environment(or nuclear disarmament) depending on which version of The Day The Earth Stood Still that you prefer 1951 or 2006.

Provided I could stay ahead of the Religious Fanatics who were bent on killing me, I would probably settle on uniting humanity to conquer the stars so that we can finally get our collective Star Trek on.

That first part was just a desperate attempt to get either Michael Dinich or Bitches Get Riches to like me better.

Let’s Reset and assume it is for starting High School over. I think my plan would still work to some degree, but I would probably only get a few toadies and some camp followers, nothing too significant.

Anyway, what would I do starting over as a young teenager with all of my current memories?

#1 An apology to my wife. I promise I will find you so we can spend the rest of our lives together and raise our two beautiful children together. But for now, I am so going to get laid more. I would dwell on what this means and how to accomplish this, but that is for a different kind of blog.

#2 Finances. I am obsessed with Personal Finances and have been since my mid twenties. Guess what? I think I remember enough to not have to have a job. I would need some seed money, but I think I could make my nut in the markets without having to ‘work’ much.

The rules of this hypothetical specified you can’t say something like ‘invent Apple‘. But, I take that to me I can buy Apple stock when it is at $23 a share. I did by the way.

I am well versed in this particular fantasy enough that I actually can recall the ‘what if’ moments for many different stocks. Even for other types of assets like Palladium hitting below $200 an ounce.

A decade or so of capitalizing upon the peaks and swoons of the market should set me up for life.

#3 the Clearing Up of Regrets. A well examined life includes you going over the mistakes you have made and at least attempting to rectify them, or at least understand them. Sharing my own regrets in this form is a bit personal [for now] and would ruin the snarky lightweight feel to this post. However, I do have a plan for most of the lingering regrets and would easily avoid them all in a life mulligan.

#4 Career. I do not regret going to university, law school, and eventually becoming a lawyer. All said and done, a pretty good trip. But I do not think I would repeat. Given the flexibility I would now have with my finances, I would love to just THINK about stuff and maybe WRITE stuff. How is that for specificity.

Hell I might actually mean it when I say I would become a full-time blogger. That job description meets both the THINK and WRITE criteria doesn’t it?

I would still keep college professor and financial advisor on deck as potential careers as well.

The good collateral aspect of a time machine hypothetical like this is that it allows you to assess your happiness with your current life choices in a more subconscious fashion.

I think the reality of being a lawyer who is into FIRE cuts into the gray area between those two fantasy careers pretty well. Maybe my life is fairly on track.

In closing, a personal plea to Elon Musk and his ilk. Can we please get hon this whole time does not have to be a linear progression thing, I would really love a ‘do-over’. That is all.

Check out the other bloggers who have also answered this question;

P.S. Based on the shot straight to my heart fired by Crispy Doc in the comments below, I have decided to add an addendum.

It all became clear to me rewatching the Star Trek TNG episode titled ‘Tapestry‘.  Captain Picard’s artificial heart fails and he is given a death bed opportunity by ‘Q’ to go back to right the mistakes of his youth and take a different path.

He opts for it, cooler heads prevail, and long story short he never takes a Nausicaans blade to the chest in a bar fight and ends up a milquetoast AstroPhysics Junior Lieutenant. Ultimately never living the life we all have come to know and love. Something to think about for sure.

11 thoughts on “Thought Experiment #3 – The Time Machine

  1. Really well written concise post Othalafehu. Thanks for participating again 🙂

    Haha at #1 😀 You wouldn’t find your OH earlier and be each others first and only partners?

    I wanna hear your regrets!!

  2. Hate to point out the flaw in your argument, but in every doctor lies a dormant poseur lawyer (blame Matlock, A Few Good Men or LA Law) waiting to emerge.

    My starting and ending argument is the Law of Michael J. Fox, derived from his ouevre in the 80s as unintended consequences.

    So you become a baller, and instead of spending your youth repressed and angry and finding an expression of that anger in punk you become a pastel polo with the lapels flipped up Spandau Ballet jock with cheerleaders with awful 80s perms throwing their bodies and STDs at you.

    You are wealthy from your unfair advantage stock knowledge, and comfortable numbness and luxury come to characterize your youth, meaning that scrappy work ethic of someone making it out of the barrio never quite comes together in the dance remix of your life the way it did in the original.

    Then one day you cross paths with this attractive misfit punk rock chick from a loving whole family with a father figure you could see yourself learning from and a model for what life might be. You try to persuade her that you are still you, because the premise was that you keep the life experience when you drop back into the early years.

    She takes one look at you and runs for the hills.

    I laud the thought exercise and the originality it engenders. I hate to sustain the cliche that suffering is a precondition to the development of most great artists.

    But I’d be leery of artificially asking that old butterfly to beat its wings one extra beat in Poughkeepsie only to result in a hurricane on another coast disrupting the fabric of a life you’ve come to love.

    And for selfish reasons, I’ve grown fond of your existing idiosyncracies. I’d deeply miss them, and feel threatened should you replace them with others.

    • I made my nonblog reading wife read this comment, its worse than you thought. She said she would actively work towards my popped collar demise for daring to hit on her while in khakis. Maybe i need to rethink this all.

  3. These are some awesome thought experiments. Kudos to the creator of them. I think if I had originated this one, I would have stipulated some rules that would definitely not allow you to use knowledge of lottery #’s, sporting games, or stock values. You are only allowed to retain the philosophies behind investing say in index funds etc but not allowed to keep the knowledge say of market bottoms and tops.

    I love Crispy Doc’s comment and really can’t say too much more than what he eloquently put into words.

  4. If you don’t regret becoming a lawyer, what is it about the profession that means you wouldn’t choose the profession again given the choice in another life?


  5. Dude!

    How did I miss this???? Hilarious post!!! A few thoughts.

    1. We are totallly BFF’s (even if you ditched me at FinCon to hang with the cool Kids)

    2. I picture going back in time like the science documentary ‘Hot Tube Time Machine’ remember Lougle? Well get ready for Geekgle!!!

  6. You may have 2 beautiful children but there’s an infinitesimal chance they’ll be the exact same ones you have now. Getting laid more means the exact sperm will be different. Hell, what you eat, if you catch a cold, etc. can butterfly effect your current kids to never-being-born….

    Of course, no worries, right? You would love the 2 replacement kids just as much and with every fiber of your being as you did the originals…

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