Everyday Living

Do You Wish You Could Go Back In Time?


Side view of young woman with eyes closed

There was once a girl who had a secret about her past. It haunted her day and night, sometimes she cried herself to sleep. She had been dating this wonderful guy at the office for nine months, and she was dreading the day he would find out about this secret. It made her ill with worry and she was often sad and depressed. The weight of the guilt was heavy on her, so much so, that she stopped enjoying the present. She began to dwell in the past, reliving her mistakes over and over, worrying and beating herself up over it.

One day, her manager at work found her crying. He called her and asked her what was wrong. Faced with a person who showed concern about her welfare, she finally told him. She had an eight-year old son that nobody knew about. He lived with her mother in a different town and she saw him once a month. The reason she was so upset was that she regretted her mistakes, but she was worried about what her new boyfriend would say or do when he finds out.

Her manager, who was a wise man, asked her a few questions:

Do you regret your past? She said yes.

Do you wish you could go back in time to do things differently? She nodded.

Can you actually go back and change things? She paused for a moment. Then she shook her head.

Is there any way that the mistake would go away?  She said no.

Do you realise that while you are hung up about the past, your present and future happiness is slipping away? She paused to reflect on this.

If you cannot change the outcome of your past mistakes, don’t you think it’s time to stop beating yourself up over it? That had not occurred to her.

If you like this guy and you think he likes you too, the best thing you can do is to be honest with him. That way you will be right with yourself. It is a risk, but the result is that no matter what happens, you have let go of the guilt and fear that is holding you back.

She thanked her manager and left his office. Later that evening, she summoned up the courage to tell her boyfriend about her son. To her surprise, he was not upset. In fact, he was delighted to hear that she had a child because he recently found out that he couldn’t have children. The next weekend, they went to visit her mother together. All her worries, fears and anxieties melted away when she saw her boyfriend and her son getting along so well together. By the time they were leaving, her son was sad to see them go, and he asked when her boyfriend could come and visit again. It was a step forward. She didn’t need to worry about her secret anymore.

* * * * *

Now this story is fiction, but I wanted to highlight a few lessons that I’ve learnt recently. One is about dwelling in the past. We all have chapters in our lives that we wish we would erase or re-write. It’s part of life, part of growing up, part of learning who we are. I’ve had to learn to let my past go. I cannot change it, I cannot undo it. And the more I dwelt on it, I found out that it was a heavy burden, sapping my energy, draining the joy of my present, and blocking me from moving on with my future. If this applies to you, I would urge you to take another look at the issue. The past is gone; there is nothing you can do to change what happened. What you can change however, is your attitude. You have to forgive yourself of the mistakes and stop beating yourself over it. You have to deal with the guilt by admitting that you did something wrong, but God will forgive you if you ask Him to. And once you have learnt from the mistake, you can move ahead with your life, knowing that you are a better and wiser person for it.

Another lesson I’ve learnt is sharing my burdens. Some of us pretend that we’ve got it all together, and we don’t need help. We give people an illusion that we have no problems, no weaknesses and no struggles. Yet, we are crumbling under the weight of problems on the inside. We need to stop trying to pretend like we know-it-all and be humble enough to ask for help when we are struggling. Nobody is perfect, nobody knows everything. If you ask for help, it doesn’t make you a weak person; it makes you a wise person.

And finally: honesty. I’ve been told that honesty is the best policy, but sometimes I’m still surprised by the truth in it. I find that, when I come clean and admit my mistakes, people don’t judge me half as bad as I judge myself. Sometimes I’ve been struggling with an issue for months, and finally when I discuss it with hubby, the problem seems to shrink in size to almost nothing. I’ve realised that it’s okay to admit to yourself and your husband that you have weaknesses, fears, doubts and struggles. That’s what is meant by “naked and not ashamed”. You should be comfortable enough with each other to share each other’s struggles, and find solutions together. That’s why he or she is there to support you.

Sometimes I feel quite silly for trying to bear my struggles alone. I think that sometimes, the last person we listen to is our spouse. When we have a problem, we assume we can pray about, or share with a friend, or seek help elsewhere. All of which are good, but they can also be tactics to try and cover up who we are with our spouse. It’s a slippery road; once you start hiding things from your spouse or significant other, you start building a wall between you. And the longer it goes on, the higher that wall becomes. When all we need can just simply be: come clean; admit we have a weakness and we can then work together to find a solution as a couple.

If we reflect on these things, we find that it is fear and pride that holds us back. Fear blows our issues out of proportion, such that, in our minds, we feel we are going to get judged by everyone else. Pride prevents us from admitting that we are not perfect, and we need other people to help us. But what sweet relief we get; when we do confront our fears and swallow our pride. We find peace.

Writer – Tolulope Popoola is a writer and a blogger. She blogs at InMyDreamsItWasSimpler

Photo Credit -Stockbyte



  1. omonefty@gmail.com'


    July 26, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Fantastic read………..worth the last few minutes of my time. Thanks for sharing

  2. profchid@yahoo.com'


    July 26, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Touching…..very practical but can i ask this question?
    How soon in your relationship should you tell your partner about your past? Fears are that if you do that early in the relationship, your partner might be discouraged…What do you think?

  3. tolu_cutie85@yahoo.com'


    July 26, 2010 at 11:59 am

    i love this and am a strong advocate for being sincere and baring it all no matter how ugly , we all have a past whether good or past and we serve God that loves us even with our past ans He’s always willing to take us back and totally forget about our past indiscretions. So if God could forgive and forget , who is that human to get uppity and self righteous over your past , if he can’t get past the past that surely means , he is not you .
    one other thing is that the enemy of our soul desperately tries to chain us to our ugly past , he taunts us with those memories but i have been able to break free by God’s word , whenever the evil one speaks , which he is always doing , i daily stock myself with God’s word to stop the rantings of the evil one . Most times when we have a dirty past , we should see it as a ministry to others that are still struggling with the same mistake, sin and help them out of it instead of crying over the past that can’t be changed ever.

  4. sylviachima@yahoo.com'


    July 26, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Well written and well said, love it:)

  5. oniomonike@yahoo.com'

    Nike OnI

    July 26, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    This is a very nice piece…. Nobody is perfect..

  6. tiwalolly2002@yahoo.com'


    July 26, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Well written. This is a confirmation of what the Holy Spirit has been teaching me in the past few days. Honesty and openness in my relationship. Am glad I read this article,passing it on to my Fiancé. Thanks and God bless…

  7. fadenyke277@yahoo.com'


    July 26, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    uhmm..intresting, i’v learnt somthin here..thnkx Tolu.

  8. lolaagbedana@yahoo.com'

    lola agbedana idowu

    July 26, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    really ,dwelling in ur past mistake is another great mistake.

  9. oluwaseun757@yahoo.com'

    oluwaseun ola

    July 26, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    So true, so real…well thot out

  10. aderonke4u2003@yahoo.co.uk'


    July 26, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Thanx Tolu,u v got a 9s writeup.keep it up,God bless u.

  11. bukville@ymail.com'

    Buky Oj

    July 26, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Hmmm, only in Nigeria is having a child a HUGE secret and treated like a disease. A child is a blessing from God, regardless of the circumstances they are born into. Ok so its a child out of wedlock? Stuff happens. Children are a blessing from God.

    What our society wants is, go do your dirty sectret and put on a brave face. How about the Gazillion of abortions that are done in secrets and women carries the guilt with them. How about that?

    Ladies, never hide your child/children from anyone. If you are not accepted becos you had a child, tell him to go jump.

    Confront your fear and past, honestly its not really that much of a big deal. Afterall did you kill someone? Even if you did, there is forgiveness with God, who makes all things new.

  12. myne@mynewhitman.com'

    Myne Whitman

    July 26, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Really good teaching piece, I loved it. I agree with Bukky too, having a child outside marriage is not a crime.

    As for how long to wait before opening up on your past, I’m guessing one you’re scared and ashamed of, it’s not mathematics. It depends on you and your partner but it’s best done as early as possible.

    If you can tell your BF or fiance about all the As you made in NECO, you can also tell them about that girl you fought in ss2. And so on.

  13. beautyay@yahoo.com'

    Beauty Fabulous

    July 26, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    We never know till we try. God can do the impossible. Thanks for sharing…:)

  14. modupeogundeji@yahoo.com'


    July 26, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    I am glad she got someone to talk to who listened and saved her from destroying her future, people don’t trust each other and always put things in their inner mind out of fear of rejection…it is not the key…SPEAK OUT!! It would save your life!

  15. ronkepat@yahoo.com'


    July 26, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    This is a nice piece and i really gained from it expecially talking out to someone or one’s spouse instead of formong as if nothing is wrong and crumbling under it. Statistics has it that sucide is low among the catholic cause they do physical confession. A problem shared is half solved.

  16. rite2ty@yahoo.com'


    July 26, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Well said, we need 2 stop dwelling in d past

  17. timasanni@yahoo.com'


    July 26, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    This reminds me of the Serenity prayer “God grant me serenity to accept things I cannot change, Wisdom to change what I can and Knowledge to know the difference” (not so sure of the words), nice piece, thanx for sharing with us!

  18. titilala2000@yahoo.com'


    July 27, 2010 at 10:06 am

    This story is all me, so many times I wish i can go back to past and undo so many things and so many times i have attached my present circumstances to my past, and I hardly share my problems with anybody, i am always pretending everything is ok with me, but after reading this story I hope i can finally begin to let go of my past and start sharing my problems.

  19. oreoluwaabe@gmail.com'

    Abe oreoluwa

    July 27, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    A very good lesson,i v learnt more.sharing our past is the best.

  20. tittlope56@yahoo.com'


    July 27, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Very nice write-up. Sharing your past mistakes is a very important part of healing from our past mistakes but be very careful the people you tell bcos some people help you spread it to the wrong quarters and then that particular part of your past becomes a stigma. I am actually talking from experience. I had to make a conscious decision to forgive myself so I could move on with my life. When it comes to your fiance please make sure you let him know exactly what he is getting into so he loves you for who you are irrespective of what yo were.

  21. scuff@Ymail.com'


    July 28, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    nice read. Wish it was really simpler….
    let me share a different perspective: how abt still living in the mistake? I give u an example…u suddenly wake u in a wrong marriage with someone u know deep in ur mind u c as a mistake, call it silly or fabricate or anything. Face it most people regret their marriage than they show; so when do u get over that? Now don’t sell divorce on this space. Candid views only

    • bolajuwon2002@yahoo.com'


      July 28, 2010 at 5:25 pm

      ok i wil try 2 answer dis. y did u mary d person n was der luv/understandin b4 u got in? r u a better person n do u think anoda person wont regret maryin u? take me as an example, i hav som regrets i wuld hav luved to send away from my mariage bcos at tyms, dey come up as challenges. but evrytym, i tel mysef am not perfect n even try 2 think of som tins i suldnt hav done. i hav had challenges even as a child n tot 2 find solace in my partner. he does givs me d suport d dosnt c me as trash n if 4 only dat, i suld b grateful. do u kno even curently we r havin chalenges on som moves he made in d past but it makes us grow closer.
      Another instance is a lady hu got married yung n is suposed 2 b hapy. but she used to wake up wit d tots of ur words bcos her husband used 2 humiliate, beat n even cheat on her right 2 her face. she had no right 2 touch his tins includin his fon. 2 get solace, she cheated on him, joined groups in churc n travelled. but today, she is ready to tel her story n how dey hav survived. d story has totaly changed.
      my dear, as my broda inlaw told me, u think u hav seen chalenges? worst is yet 2 come n dat is from peopl am sure did not wake up in d wrong mariage. my dear, learn 2 apreciate eachoda n c ur sef as human. i may not b 2 explicit but u can find me on facebook or my yahoo id. we can talk beta.

  22. bolajuwon2002@yahoo.com'


    July 28, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    If we reflect on these things, we find that it is fear and pride that holds us back. Fear blows our issues out of proportion, such that, in our minds, we feel we are going to get judged by everyone else. Pride prevents us from admitting that we are not perfect, and we need other people to help us. But what sweet relief we get; when we do confront our fears and swallow our pride. We find peace…….

    God bless u madam.

  23. geniustayo99@yahoo.com'

    Temitayo Adesola

    July 29, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Just saved dis page 2 read again n again cos ve been rely depressed by my past but thank God cos I now no God has plans for us in our failure.
    Thank so much
    i let go my past in JESUS NAME

  24. lolaolojede@hotmail.com'


    July 29, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Nice article. Like the picture also. If it’s her natural hair, then it’s great!

  25. diihype@gmail.com'

    Anoda Phase

    July 30, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Excellent piece! very relatable…

  26. yommyteddy@yahoo.com'


    August 1, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Dis is touching, keep it up

  27. akinyele_t@yahoo.com'

    toyin akins

    August 3, 2010 at 3:53 am

    simply the truth!!!!! It always prevails anyways.The bible says your sins shall find you out….Nice piece Tolu it’s soul lifting.

  28. 9jamodel@gmail.com'

    Naija Model

    August 3, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Great piece of advice, easier said and shared than done though.

    *we all know the right thing to do deep down but ‘doing’ is just usually so hard! we will learn to do the right thing and quickly too, before it is too late.

    So help us God

  29. chiliz722@yahoo.ca'


    August 3, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    You hit the nail on the head, Tolulope.
    Every human on this planet has a past he/she would want erased if possible. The reality is that we can’t blot out our past misdeeds from our minds but we can choose to not allow them infere negatively with our present & future.

  30. jaygoodluck@yahoo.com'


    September 8, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    You just hit the bullseye with this. I have been and still dwelling in the past so much so that i am always depressed and unhappy. i keep giving myself knocks for doing what i did and it has really hindered my moving on. After reading this i feel a bit better all i need is the willpower to move on.

  31. nwanchukwusandra@yahoo.com'

    nwachukwu sandra

    August 30, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Well said but i think d problem most pple ave is finding some dat u can confide in,somtimes after disclosing ur past to ur hubby,u will jst b surprisd dat d nt time there is a quarrel he will b using it against u.

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