If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time, I Never Would Have Reached For Yours

If we started over, I would've loved myself a bit more than I loved you.

woman with a hand on her head and a man sitting behind her Getty

By Liss Schultz

Sitting in my room trying to fix the time on my watch before leaving to go to work, I let my mind wander, staring down at the hands on the clock turning back.

If I could, would I want to relive the time and memories that are in the past now? Would I want to put my life on rewind, if I could? Leave everything I know to be present and everything that hasn’t happened yet in the future.


At first, thinking if I could do things all over again, it might be so exhilarating. I would have the chance to apply all that I know now to my life the way it was then would no doubt change the course of my life dramatically.

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But the more the thought lingered in my head, the more I rejected the idea. If I couldn’t do things perfectly the first time around, how would I be sure I would get it right the second time? Or would I want a third, fourth, or fifth try?

Knowing me and the way I am, I would struggle with the endless loop of trying to live my life perfectly. And let’s be honest, that isn’t really living.

As I’m pondering this, something clicked in my head: if I could go back in time and change one thing about my past, I think I would’ve guarded my heart a little more carefully when it came to one person who lives in the past.


And here’s everything I would do differently when it came to you:

If we started over, I wouldn’t have tried so hard to make the relationship work. Because I was the only one who got hurt in the end.

If we started over, I wouldn’t have confused abuse for love. Because you gave me the wrong idea of love that still stays with me.

If we started over, I wouldn’t have waited for you to decide if you wanted to be with me. Because if you even had to question it, then the answer is "no."

If we started over, I wouldn’t have questioned how you felt about me. Because the truth is, you never felt anything for me, I was just convenient for you when you were so much more to me.


If we started over, I wouldn’t have made excuses for your actions. Because I didn’t want to believe you were as evil as you proved yourself to be.

If we started over, I wouldn’t have ignored those signs that proved I wasn’t the only one. Because I deserve to be loved by someone who can love me with their all.

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If we started over, I wouldn’t have believe any of the lies you told. Because I wanted to see the good you in, like I do with everyone, but in reality, there was nothing “good” about you.

If we started over, I wouldn’t have fought for your attention. Because someone out there could’ve given me the attention I needed without making me feel like I was a burden to them.


If we started over, I would’ve loved myself a bit more than I loved you. Because I should’ve mattered in our relationship too, you just refused to let me realize it.

If we started over, I wouldn’t have ever reached for your hand. Because you tricked me into thinking you actually cared, over and over.

If we started over, I would’ve walked away first, knowing that it was only a matter of time before you walked away too. Because I would’ve been a lot happier if you never walked into my life in the first place.

I finally got my watch set correctly. With a huge sigh of relief, I walked out of my room and shut the door, in real-time. I walked into a new day, an unspoiled 24 hours.


It was a chance for me to do things right, to make good choices, wise decisions, and live my life the way I was meant to. I am surrounded by people who I love and who love me back. I have a man who I can picture a future with, and am working everyday to make that dream happen with him.

We don’t have to turn back time to clean the slate. That’s what every single morning is for.

Today, make your clean slate count. Fill your days with joys and make decisions that will never make you wish you could turn back time.

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Melissa Schultz is the former head editor and senior writer for Unwritten. She focuses on topics about family, motherhood, relationships, and wellness.