[WP] A man is given a chance to begin anew

This kind of fits a short story I've been working on. Heres an excerpt I like that I think kind of fits!

Why aren't I the man I want to be?

The thought flit across the span of my awareness, summoned by some tangent of whatever strange depth my mind had been exploring. I remember the first thing i started to notice as things began to change was errant notions such as this began showing their face more often. At first the voice was distant, unfamiliar. It’s soundless resonance foreign and frightening. Hearing it now, its hard to think it could belong to anyone other than myself. The guiding hand of my subconscious, grasping, and groping for purchase, and this one has found purchase on a concept I’ve spent much time considering; Regret

I see regret as an internal alert system, something that rides the deeper waves of your subconscious, toning in when an action or behavior runs contrary to the person you hold yourself to be. Your entire life up until the second you have this thought has been programmed to act and react a certain way, pulling action and reaction data from every moment you’ve ever experienced. That programming supersedes consciousness. Where some theists may begin their argument against free will siting their God’s omnipotence, I begin my… finding’s on it here.

The world as we know it is black and white, but I have glimpsed at the grey that lies in-between. In the case of free will, I think that at times we are doomed to a certainty of events, but that is not to say that our lives are not ours to shape. There is, admittedly, a certain lack of precision in determining actions; the inevitability standard I call it. Details of your life that are unavoidable, like drinking water when thirsty or sleeping when tired. Events that, as things stand, are destined to occur.

We are fourth dimensional beings, exerting ourselves in the third dimension in a straight line through our perception of time. Success in creatures of intelligence on our plane comes from a combination of our ability to anticipate, our ability to exert willpower, and the resources at our disposal. With these tools we can begin to challenge monotony, and even shape the inevitability standard to a certain degree; A way to avoid events and replace them with a controlled chaos of our choosing.

Imagine you’re sitting in traffic, it’s 5pm you just finished an eight hour day at a boring job and your still an hour and a half from your house. You start thinking, You know what? Fuck this. Three hours of my life lost to literally sitting here doing nothing, with 8 hours of bullshit sandwiched in between. You realize that as things stand you are scheduled to continue doing this same thing every week, with no succor in sight. Moments such as this are ripe with potential, moments that can shift the inevitability standard and change the course of your life; All it takes is identifying the need and sewing chaos to some degree. Call your boss, quit your job, and immediately 10 hours per week of your life you see as unfulfilled have just blossomed with potential.

A thing to remember is the law of tradeoff, which I have found to be something of an absolute; When one path forsaken, another springs anew. The ripples of this decision will shatter the false future you were beginning to see for yourself and open countless new possibilities, though this may not always be a good thing. I see my growing ability to recognize and consider these moments as my instincts. Chaos is a cruel mechanism, quick to turn on the hands that wrought it, but a worthy source in the forging of a life.

Instincts, like any weapon, must be honed and fit for the job. Something wielded with familiarity and able to recognize its own necessity. People in agreement with my opinion on behavior programming could choose to argue that instinct is irrelevant, but they would be making this argument in ignorance. While instinct may be a manifestation of your deeper self’s intonations, and therefore responsive to you’re programming, saying that it can’t be a tool because of this would be operating under a false notion; the notion that the way you're programmed is beyond your ability to change. Something else we have to our advantage, and something that I consider the true indicator of intelligence, is the ability to look introspectively and self analyze. When you know yourself, and I mean really understand your values and intentions, you are capable of identifying and analyzing trends and habits that have led you to unhappiness. Regrets are one way of identifying these issues. Know your enemies so you can destroy them.

These were the thoughts that plagued my final months. Humbled by the unexpected epiphanies my wandering mind returned with, and sick with the irony of how useless this information was to a man two steps from Death’s door, I let myself fade from the world. In my final moments I remember thinking of futility. How a life without hind site is a life lived blind; Why could I have not known then what I know now. And then I knew nothing.

I sit here, 103 years old, 17 years young, and I finally understand. The wild imaginings haunting me these last 4 years; the vivid dreams that were too real to be fantasy. Echoes of another man’s life. The man’s identity was unknown to me at first, but I've learned the truth of it; That man was me, and he is dead. Here i stand, a child of 17 years, a lifetime of memories swimming the in depths of my mind. There are memories from before today, but only few; those 4 years that differ from when the dreams began. But of the years to come, a lifetime’s worth of memories paint the canvas of tomorrow. A lifetimes worth of anger, disappointment, neglect… a lifetime of regrets.

And a lifetime to set them right.

/r/WritingPrompts Thread