27 May 2020

The “At-Home” Diaries: What If? If Only? I Wish?

What If? If Only on vickiarcher.com
Potent questions for the asking.
Do you ever reflect on the past and think, if only I did this or that? Or wish events or even life had turned around differently? Hindsight can be a dangerous game; especially a wishing-wanting-to-change-the-past game. We cannot re-write history, we can learn from it but we cannot change it. Wishing our lives were different or we had made alternate decisions can only make us feel unhappy if we don’t like where we are at.


I’d rather work on the now and make my future exactly how I want. Tailor-make the decisions and shape them with the clarity age has generously shown me. If you listened in to my chat with Serena Crawford last Monday we talked a great deal about the importance of time and energy in our lives right now.

Having an energetic mind, body and spirit allows us more time and with this precious time, there is no wasting. Thinking about what could have been would be an insult to this treasured commodity and none of us, whatever our age can afford that. I wish I had known this in my earlier years.

There I go adding in an “if only” – what’s the point, I didn’t and I wasted so much valuable time – let’s leave it there. This trapdoor is now firmly shut and I am not opening it again. I’m on a mission to prioritise time and make it work for me.  

One element of this lockdown for me has been time to think, really think – and reflect. For all the sadness, this has been a true gift and in many ways without actively knowing I have made changes. Both small and large are having equal airtime and I really don’t want to lose any of this momentum. Work will be required to maintain this status quo and I am committed to that.

When I wrote Better, Not Younger, I voiced my thoughts in a way to be helpful reminders – reminders I need on a daily basis. I wanted a blueprint for moving forward and negotiating the next decades with as much upside as I can. I don’t care about tag lines such as “60 is the new 40”, I want my brightest and shiniest to be today and tomorrow. I should have included an “I wish” chapter, as I believe too many of us reflect and feel disheartened by our past decision making. We have to let it go, learn from the take-away and move forward. It’s easy once you accept the challenge.

The thought of being the best version, the most fabulous version of us is empowering. This is the space I want to conquer.” xv

If you don’t already have a copy of Better, Not Younger you can find it HERE

illustration from Better, Not Younger by KlemeKleme

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In This Post:




Good morning dearest Vicki!

Again, I agree. One of the things I’ve been noticing about growing into our years is that our choices are so clear: either regress and complain or stand up and look for the good in everything. We must mine the beautiful, we must dig for what has been covered with the veneer of negativity about everything, including our own self-image. So yes, NOW is much better than staying in the regrets of the past and the fears of the future. The added benefits? A smile. A glow that comes from taking care of who we are now. You are fabulous, Vicki!

Jill Garber

Dear Vicki, though brief, this is such an astute grouping of thoughts and exactly the conclusion I have come to. Life is not about how others or the world perceives is, but rather how we do. We are surrounded by marketing that caters to so many different demographics – why try to find a place where we fit in, when it is our own unique experiences, work and life story that really matters in the end? As twenty and thirty somethings out in the creative/arts or media world we knew this. At fifty or sixty something we have grown roots like a tree able to withstand storms of life, passing phases of trends and even deep loss. Our work And inspiration comes from within us. There has never been a better time to fulfill our deepest desires as artists, as well as women. Only we and our doubts can get in the way.
I love your thoughts and expression of them. So glad to have discovered you during this time. There have surely been gifts and I appreciate them with a Re-found focus and gratitude.


my motto always was/is “don’t cry over spelt milk” and never look back. Sometimes this mindset scared me but it helped me also to stay in the present and look into the
future much clearer.

Elizabeth Day

Thank you Vicki for this positive and encouraging post. At 75 I have a lot of years to back upon and decisions that could have been different; however, at 75, I have decided there is nothing I would do differently. Every decision, right or wrong at the time, has culminated into the person I am today, and that is a strong confident, god-fearing, proud yet humble southern lady. It is all good!


I do, like many of us, look back on my life and wish I had done this or that but then I think times were different then, my life was busy in other ways and at that time I never felt I was doing some thing wrong. I think as we grow older we become reflective and it’s our experiences and age that maybe give us a different view on our younger self and the ‘what if’. We are who we are and dwelling on ‘what ifs’ only creates a negativity and I would rather follow your ‘better not younger’ approach in both body and mind and aim to be happy, relaxed, positive and proud of my younger self. Thoughtful post Vicki. x

Linda B

One of my big current projects is going through two full boxes of “Morning Pages” journals. A colleague suggested I read Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, in early 2011. I worked her creative process hard, and appreciate how it helped me not so much to change my life much outwardly, but to understand how I truly was engaged creatively in what I was doing already. To this day, I still get up and write three pages right away each day.

Ms. Cameron asks that at least to start, you don’t go back and read what you’ve written. So I didn’t, all these years, though I saved all those handwritten pages! Now, I am going back to read them. I am reliving many things I remember, and some I didn’t, about my professional and personal life. I am creating a document as I go, so I don’t forget the hard-won lessons of all those experiences. But the process also allows me to acknowledge consciously of all the painful times–and then let them go!.

And why am I sharing this as a comment to your post today, Vicki? Because this delving into my past has served to strengthen my gratitude for all that I went through in the past years, and how it has positioned me to really find my very best self NOW. I see how I was utterly, fully devoted to my work as an educator–and I get why. . . and I see that so often it was at the expense of almost every other aspect of my life. I do not regret following my passion so fully, but I am so grateful that I survived (and my marriage did, which I realize almost didn’t happen!) Now. . . now is just wonderful (on the personal level–always the thought of those who are truly struggling with the pandemic!) I am moving into my future with joy!




Vicki, how interesting reading the last few comments back which we all seem to have the same theme and thoughts. We also typed these not knowing what each other was writing, Anita’s was the only post showing when I posted mine, but how comforting to see that we all, maybe alike in age, feel similar.
You seemed to have a post that has bonded us very closely in thoughts. Well done and thank you, it’s comforting to feel this at this strange time.

Jean Wethmar

My chiropodist, back in South Africa told me on my last appointment before we immigrated to Sydney, .. ‘never look back’ – you get distorted vision, like that ol’ Beetle VW rear window. Such sound wisdom.. and so true..
PS.. I loved your chat with Serena, Vicki.. you have such focused views.. well done x Jean


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