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Hindsight is Always 20/20

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By Ellie Behman

Well here we are at the very beginning of 2020 and those numbers gave me the idea to try to find enough material for an article using 20/20 and hindsight without putting the reader into a deep sleep. I really have too much time on my hands.

    For instance, my eye doctor said I had 20/20 vision. Interesting, since I ripped off the side mirror on our car not so long ago while boasting 20/20 eyesight. Then I turned to Google, (and you know it has to be true if it’s on Google, right?) Here’s what it said about hindsight, “It’s easy to know the right thing to do after something has happened, but it’s hard to predict the future.”

I don’t know much about football but I have heard the sports commentator’s on television go on and on about the mistakes some of the players made the night before. I believe they are called “Monday morning quarterbacks “, someone who criticizes from hindsight. Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

I thought about this and came up with my own take on the expression. I don’t know if many can identify with this opinion but I seem to look back at various decisions I have made or things I have said and wish I was able to take them back and start over. However, as I have said, “don’t look back.” We’re not headed in that direction so I better take my own advice. I wonder why everything looks so much clearer and makes more sense when it’s too late to retract.   

Most of what I remember is not all that bad and I can move past it, but one situation stands out in my mind and is my one regret when talking about hindsight. My mom and dad came from Czechoslovakia in 1921 to Ellis Island, N.Y., however they never met until they were settled in the same neighborhood in the USA. As we gathered together on our many visits, they touched on their lives in Europe but not in great detail. Now I sit here and wonder why I didn’t ask more questions, learn their backgrounds, their lifestyles, etc. In hindsight I feel I had the greatest opportunity to learn about their lives, but missed that chance to soak up more history. I knew my mom had a sister and a mother already living in the USA and Dad had relatives to depend on. These people would become sponsors for my parents and provide living quarters for them.  I sometimes wondered if they ever questioned their decision in hindsight, but when I think back to the bright smile on Dad’s face as he worked on his beloved farm, I know there was no hindsight here.

I spent many hours visiting my mom, but conversation rarely included her life in Czechoslovakia. From what I could determine, it was a painful subject, as she was orphaned at a young age and lived with an uncle. My dad, on the other hand, came from a large family living in Klenovec and his eyes sparkled as he spoke of his brothers and sisters, but he still made the grueling journey to the USA for a better life.  

In hindsight I wish I would have spent extra time finding out more of their experiences, but I am grateful that I have a few special memories to reflect on. I have heard that when an elderly person dies, the loss of knowledge is equivalent to burning down a library. Truer words have never been spoken.

Writing this article has reminded me not to look back with regret at some of the small decisions I made. At the time, they made sense and I will move on. Yes, hindsight is always 20/20, so when I fall into the trap of questioning my choices, I will remember only the good times and make as many happy memories I can.  

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