What time in your life would you like to turn in for a refund?

You know how people sometimes say after watching a bad movie, “There were two hours of my life I’d like to get back”? Well, suppose you could do just that. You can pick one period/event/time in your life and have the time back to respend. The rules:

  1. It has to be a period you spent doing something you voluntarily chose to do. Your year living in England, taking Underwater Basketweaving, or touring the country following Phish count; your six-month illness when you were laid up in your room doesn’t. Military service counts only if you chose it, not if you were drafted.

  2. Any experiences you had, friends you met, etc., related to that period/time/event (including things that were tangentially related, like you met your spouse in the parking lot of the alley during your year as a member of a horrible bowling team) would be erased as well. You would still get to keep the experiences and memories from the time period that aren’t directly or indirectly related to your chosen event.

  3. It must be a decent sized chunk of time: “I want the two hours I spent watching ‘That’s My Boy’ back” doesn’t count (though “I want the years I wasted watching all X seasons of ‘Lost’” would)

Here’s an example: I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few years playing World of Warcraft. Days, weeks, months spent leveling characters, raiding, etc. Though I would be tempted to ask for all that time back, I wouldn’t. Why? Because I met some really good friends playing the game, and since I’m an introvert who doesn’t have a huge number of friends, I wouldn’t want to lose some of them.

On the other hand, I’d gladly give back the month or two I spent playing RIFT, as the game made essentially no impact on my life other than wasting many hours realizing that it wasn’t the game for me.

What would you pick? Would you pick anything? What part of your life would you return for a refund?

Early morning Sept 8th 1938 through the present. The whole damned thing has been much, much more negative than positive. I would prefer to have had not part of it.

My 4.5 years in college. I’d use it to go back to college.

Age 22-26. What was I thinking hanging around that dead end town?

To quote Meat Loaf: “Life is a lemon and I want my money back.”

I’d like to get a refund for the last 50 years. Oh, to be able to start all over again at five.

Eh, doesn’t count, though. I know the OP said voluntary.

So, did I spend the last 43 years living the last 43 years voluntarily or involuntarily?

And did I learn anything, such that if I got my refund an a do-over, I would know what to do differently?

Yes. If you get your refund, you remember what you did and can choose not to do it again (or relive it, I suppose!)

Actually, that kinda contradicts my OP, but I’ll say that you’ll remember enough that you can choose not to do it again. You just won’t remember anything good that came out of it (friends, happy times, etc.)

The last 3 years of college were an extraordinary waste of time. It was a meaningless time consuming grind in which I learned little and wasted precious youth that I could have been working and learning and actually enjoying life.

The first two years I learned a lot and matured. After 1-2 years of college, people should go out and work a variety of internships to attain genuine skills for the workforce.

Peter Thiel should be a hero.

Well damn. Until I read the rules I was going to say “from birth until at leas t the age of 14” but under the new rules, I will have to stick to taking back all the time I spent trying to prepare for a PhD and earn scholarships in high school, seeing as I never did go to university and haven’t wanted to for at least a couple of years.

I’d use it to do more about my appalling mental health at a younger age. Maybe I’d be in a much better place now if I’d admitted I needed treatment more than schooling then.

I’d like the last four years of my failed marriage back.

Me too. I’d use it to actually learn useful stuff. Boy was that college bad.

18-25. I was drunk or hungover the entire time, I’m still not sure how I survived that period. Since I’m not an alcoholic (this drunk was by choice) I figure it counts.