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If I Knew Then What I Know Now ….

CheesecakeI’d be filthy rich. Okay. Not really. But I would have saved myself a lot of grief, angst and tears. Growing up is hard. I’m still working on it.

Needless to say, I would have used sunscreen (duh!), I wouldn’t be self-conscious of my body (it was fabulous), I wouldn’t be impressed with money (even idiots can make it), I would have finished my college education, I would have had 2 beautiful children instead of one (so they could quarrel together for years to come), I would have said yes more often (get your mind out of the gutter), I would have continued practicing the piano, and I would have given myself more credit.

In the 1980’s I lost my home in a foreclosure. I was devastated. I knew it was the end of me. I had a newborn baby and the weight of the world on my shoulders. There were many sleepless nights and panic settled in for a long stay.

I remember one night in particular, I had a very vivid dream. I was standing in a room looking out of a beautiful picture window down onto the city below. As I gazed at the full moon, I began to sob quietly, seeped in the depths of despair. Quietly, someone came from behind me, put their hand on my shoulder and whispered into my ear that everything was going to be all right. The assurance was so strong, I didn’t doubt it.

I woke up knowing it was someone I knew. Someone I trusted. Someone I knew who would not lie to me. Here’s the kicker … I think it was me.

Crazy, right?

I’ve often thought since then, if you could visit your younger self, what would you say? What advice would you give? Would it matter? Would you listen?

I would. I did.

Whether it was me or a guardian angel (not that I ever gave angels any real consideration), I believed without a doubt. I still do. The moment was solid, real, and after 29 years, I still remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday. Although, if I do have a guardian angel, I’m sure I will be apologizing for a lot of stuff when we meet.

Here’s where it gets weirder. Years later I found myself standing in the second story of my dream home looking out to the city below from a large picture window, sobbing quietly. I was about to file for divorce, lose my 29 year marriage and everything I had ever worked for. I was inconsolable. As I gazed steadily into the full moon above, all of a sudden, in the blankness of my thoughts, I gasped a gasp of astonishment. I had seen this moment before. I had felt it. At that moment I remembered everything. I’m being completely truthful when I tell you that my soul was instantly comforted and I never doubted my future would turn out just fine. I told you it was weird.

I’d be the most brilliant person in the world if I told you I understood all of this stuff. I don’t. But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t powerful, convincing and wondrous. Yes, I do know how silly it all sounds.

Which is why I’ve never shared this with anyone. Until now. I don’t know if other people have gone through something like this. But I’d sure like to. Any degree of crazy seems less crazy when you share it with others.

Do I think this is all fabricated in my mind? I do not. Do I think I was visited by an angel or a spirit of my future self? Who the hell knows? I think I was visited by my saving grace.

Life has taught me to not discard any possibility for anything. It has also taught me that understanding everything is highly overrated. Life is stranger than fiction.

For the record, if I knew then what I know now, I would not have turned down the opportunity to invest in a little sandwich shop in Woodland Hills that made killer cheesecakes. Instead I would today own a small piece of a little chain called The Cheesecake Factory.

Damn, that one still stings.

 

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Joan Cooper - Oh Tammy – knowing you, I would never have guessed you had such a hard hard experience. You really do not show it in any way. I am told I am cynical, but I respond – no, I am realistic. Can you even trust your guardian angel? I don’t know.

Life is a throw of the dice. Luck is the prize of life. As the Irishman said…”I would rather be born lucky than smart…”

I am off to buy a Lotto ticket.

Joan

Tammy - Hi Joan, life isn’t easy for any of us, that’s for damn sure. I think I would trust my guardian angel….if he/she came with credentials. Haaa! Guess that makes me the cynical one. Life is a bit of a throw with the dice, but so much of the outcome depends heavily on our own participation. As to whether being born lucky or smart….I choose rich! Then luck wouldn’t matter a wit and I could buy knowledge. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

Tana Bevan - If I knew then what I know now, I’d tell my younger me, “ALWAYS!!!! listen to your Little Voice. It’s NEVER wrong.”

Though I was a little late in learning that lesson, I was in time to impart it to my daughter. The difference in our approach to life speaks well of this practice.

So, when in doubt my friend, listen to your Little Voice!

Tammy - Tana, good one! I learned early on that the little voice is the actual voice of reason and survival. When I think back, most of my life struggles, problems and miseries were caused because I ignored that voice. Not any more! Age has it’s perks! Thanks for being here!

Helene Cohen Bludman - You inspire me, Tammy. You’ve taken some hits but have come away stronger for the experience. I applaud you for your courage and determination. And yeah, passing on a The Cheesecake Factory is a major bummer.

Tammy - Hi Helene, I think we’ve all taken some hard knocks. It happens when you live long enough. I’ve got to tell ‘ya, every time I have a slice of cheesecake, I cringe just a little bit at my stupidity. Aaaargh! So happy you stopped by for a read! Thanks for that and the kind words!

Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs - Your heartache is palpable in this post. But so, too, is your relief at finding you can and do (and surely will continue to) comfort yourself. What a wonderful realization, courtesy an angel? Your subconscious? Whatever. It worked and that’s what matters.

We will always retain those things that sting, those mistakes made and chances missed. But how awesome it is that we can keep on trying, keep on hoping for the best… and that we know where to turn when we fail miserably.

I loved this post. Thank you for sharing.

mel - Dear Tammy,
Who knows what was behind both of those moments? I certainly don’t. Neither does anyone else, but whatever it was, you can’t deny that to a large extent you pulled yourself up by your own bootstraps. It’s like you are your own profile in courage, and living testimony to that fact that when you’re down you can rise again to the top.
A stirring column.

Tammy - Mel, it all felt real. But I can’t deny, it was and still is, very weird. But a good kind of weird. Pulling one up by the bootstraps is sometimes not an option. My back was up against the wall big time. I’m not at all sure I am at the “top”, nor do I think it matters. Because I simply love where I am, and I’m grateful for the journey. And you!

Tammy - Hi Lisa, thanks so much for the visit and the kind review! Appreciate both. You’re right, of course, we all have those moments in our lives where we would do it differently given the chance. I think it’s called learning. Haaa! Some lessons cost more than others. Still, I’m grateful for all of them!

Terri - Hi Tammy! I’ve had dreams like that as well. Extremely clear, vivid, and with a powerfully calming message that everything will be ok. The key is to trust and listen to those messages. We often have the answer and don’t trust it because it seems to simple, easy, or it doesn’t seem possible. I believe in those dreams and I thank you for sharing yours! And while passing up on that little investment in Woodland Hills may sting, think about what you have and love in your life right now that would be missing had you made a different choice!

Tammy - Hi Terri, I believe in them too. That was the only dream of it’s kind, that years later repeated itself in real life. Spooky, crazy good! I never forgot it and likely never will. You’re right, of course, a change in our past can gravely affect what our future folds out to be. Still, I wouldn’t mind a piece of the cheesecake empire in my back pocket. Next time!

Carol Cassara - Here’s the crazy thing: I would’ve done it all exactly the same. Then again, no one presented me with the business opportunity of a lifetime!!!

Tammy - Hi Carol, I think I’m with you there. I would have changed the duration of a given relationship, but not the relationship itself. While it ended in a boatload of hurt, it was a wonderful ride and we were given a beautiful daughter out of the deal. Win-win. Truth is….I WOULD have altered all those goofy things I didn’t do from sunscreen to the Cheesecake Factory, but, what the hell. It all turned out just fine and its not over yet (hoping). So appreciate the read and the comment, thanks for that.

Kitt Crescendo - I found myself nodding with every word you wrote, my friend. Though I have never had a divorce or foreclosure, I’ve lost loved ones at very early times in life. I still remember being in the front seat of the ambulance as we drove my brother to the ER. I was terrified, heart practically pounding out of my chest, shaking a little, and never feeling so alone or scared… yet somehow, I, too felt that comforting presence. We lost him, but somehow, I knew we were going to get through. It’s funny, because as I write this, I also remember getting to that ER (I was only 14), 2 Latino gang bangers (and I mean that literally, the hospital was not in a good neighborhood, but it was a Trauma 1 center) tried to approach me…but a large, black gentleman (pretty sure he was involved in gangs somehow, too, though not theirs) got in their way and told them to leave me alone. He watched over me from a distance. Kept me safe while I waited for my mom to get there from work. As I look back, I see places were people one wouldn’t expect to care or lend a hand, have been put in my path to support or protect my way.

I sort of think it was God…looking out for one of his many children. Thanks for sharing!

Tammy - Kitt, your comment gave me chills. I have no doubt, NO DOUBT, that angels come in many forms. And that we, ourselves, take on the task, albeit unknown to us. To be comforted, kept safe, left to feel that we are not alone, is such a gift. I, myself do not know where it comes from but remain forever grateful for the gift of it all. I am always so compelled when I read your comments. Grateful for that too!

Linda Lichtman - Just beautiful. What you may not know is that guardian angel sits on your shoulder when you are addressing a group of people. The angel is a gift from your last life.

Your post took a lot of courage to share – and that’s what I see when I look at you…You are beautiful – just like your story.

Tammy - Oh, Linda, what kind words! Thank you. I would love to think that we all have angels on our shoulders. Lord knows, I always seem to be in need at some point or another. However hard we try, things don’t always go according to our plans. Courage is found in the trying, don’t you think? You, my friend, are a blessing. I just wanted to say that out loud!

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