Jerome K. Jerome’s View on Groundhog Day (Replaying Your Life)

Jerome K. Jerome’s “On The Disadvantage Of Not Getting What One Wants” offers a somewhat grim view the wish for replaying your life.

On The Disadvantage Of Not Getting What One Wants

“Ah, me!” said the good old gentleman, “if only I could live my life again in the light of experience.”

Now as he spoke these words he felt the drawing near to him of a Presence, […] “Your wish shall be granted. You shall live your life again, and the knowledge of the past shall be with you to guide you. See you use it. I will come again.”

Then a sleep fell upon the good man, and when he awoke, he was again a little child, lying in his mother’s arms; but, locked within his brain was the knowledge of the life that he had lived already.

So once more he lived and loved and labored. So a second time he lay an old, worn man with life behind him. And the angel stood again beside his bed; and the voice said,

“Well, are you content now?”

“I am well content,” said the old gentleman. “Let Death come.”

“And have you understood?” asked the angel.

“I think so,” was the answer; “that experience is but as of the memory of the pathways he has trod to a traveller journeying ever onward into an unknown land. I have been wise only to reap the reward of folly. Knowledge has ofttimes kept me from my good. I have avoided my old mistakes only to fall into others that I knew not of. I have reached the old errors by new roads. Where I have escaped sorrow I have lost joy. Where I have grasped happiness I have plucked pain also. Now let me go with Death that I may learn…”

Excerpt from On The Disadvantage Of Not Getting What One Wants
by Jerome K Jerome, collected in “The Second Thoughts of an Idle Fellow

There are no repeats, no replaying your life. Take responsibility, apologize, and make amends now. Every moment is precious and will be lost: count your blessings. Mindfulness and meditation can enable you to detect self-deception. Love now. Pray for guidance. Act now.

“You will turn over many a futile new leaf until you learn we must all write on the scratched-out pages.”
Mignon McLaughlin

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