Edit > Undo

What did we do before the Edit > Undo function? I was thinking about this and it seems to me that even the first computer we had in the house, a something-something 486, had this capability, and was particularly useful in the caveman-calibre MS Paint. If memory serves, and there’s a very, very good chance it doesn’t, to get back to pre-Edit > Undo days, we’re looking at electric typewriters, the kind I learned to type on back in Grade 8, that came complete with correction ribbon. Like the “Easy” button from Staples, I can think of a few scenarios where an Edit > Undo function in life would be of great use.

Inventions could be un-invented, for starters. I believe it was said of the atomic bomb, by the man who created it, that he wished he could un-invent it. This could be said of any type of WMD in particular, and war in general, but I’m not sure that we wouldn’t wind up in the same place eventually anyway. In a more unanimously beneficial vein, just think of the utopian possibilities in a world free of the Lingerie Football League and RIM products.

Interpersonal communication could be smoothed out with Edit > Undo as well. Not sure if that sarcastic text came across as intended? Edit > Undo. Just remembered the punchline to that joke you tried to recite earlier? Edit > Undo. Just thought of the perfect comeback to that insult? Go with Edit > Copy > Paste.

Now, I’m not one to think about what could have been, or would have been, and I don’t spend time wishing things were different, but I’ve been wondering lately if an Edit > Undo wouldn’t serve me well in some ways. In general, I’m quite happy and excited with where my life is headed. At the end of this year I’ll move into my new condo, I’ll have a new community around me, and I feel as if everything is up for grabs at that point, in a good way. Socially, recreationally, relationally – the possibilites are endless. Theoretically, it’s a thrilling precipice to be on, looking out on a brave new world, yet I find myself gazing with a sense of melancholy.

I don’t think I’m depressed, because there is no sense of despair or hopelessness. Besides, I’ve been through worse. Rather, as I continue to emerge from the post-trauma state I’ve been in for nearly a decade, I am faced with the task of forming a worldview that can adequately account for the experiences I’ve had, the knowledge I’ve gained, and the wisdom I’ve been blessed/cursed with. And this is a deceptively tricky and complex proposition. At this level of introspection, my usual technique for finding answers, distilling each thought and tracing it to either the cognitive and psychological roots of my slightly skewed brain, or the emotional and spiritual roots of my still sharp mind, proves inadequate. The processing here, as cyclists would say, is tough slogging.

With the perspective I have now, I have trouble placing significance or value on anything less than what is absolutely essential, and few things really excite me. The Canucks? Meh. Traveling? Under certain circumstances, it is tolerable, and possibly maybe approaching enjoyable. Doing new things? I’m only just mastering the old things. Camping? Double meh. I recognize that personal preference plays a part in each of these, but these are just symptoms of a bigger issue for me, which is that every pursuit, pastime, or hobby simply feels self-indulgent. With what I’ve gone through, with what I know, the very concept of fun seems frivolous. And this is where Edit > Undo would come in handy. If I could just un-know what I know, if I could un-learn what I’ve learned, I could join in with the masses, enjoy new adventures, and have some common fun. I could fit in, and I could like it, too.

But I know that to Edit > Undo those things would be to nix the very things that have made the past decade worth it, and make awful waste of an opportunity. So my only choice is to keep grinding it out, trusting that it will all come together eventually. And when it does, when the climb levels off, I will know again, as I already do now, that if I had to hit Edit > Redo, I surely would.


About jaybrandsma

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5 Responses to Edit > Undo

  1. Jane says:


  2. Sandra Veenstra says:

    Frivolity in life make us a more interesting person and really, easier to live with. Pursuits, hobbies, pastimes, are, yes, sometimes self-indulgent, are sometimes passionate and even obsessive but also necessary to prevent us from being bored, boring and without cause or purpose. What then, is our purpose if not to engage in new learning? Fun is essential. Fun has the function of exciting our nervous system to make us want more: frivolous maybe but what’s not okay about that? Keep at it, Jay. I want you to find that thing for which you’ll be frivolous and self-indulgent. (How about hiking the West Coast Trail again?)

  3. Braintard says:

    Finding routines can be alterered as i have now wrote here for a few days. Perhaps altered by interest which is not forced thus enabling a memory. probly that makes no sence. idk. you write well. i bet a novel by you may be a tool for neurologist/phycs/rehabs to help with support. the thing with edit, delete is smtimes your not sure you wrote it the way you want to express and go in circles deleting an rewriting. finding too your mind is a whole bucnh faster than the time it takes to type the thought. circles,oh yeah your a bomb took me back 12 years to physics paper which i wrote well and the cover was a brilliant colourful pic of the mushroom cloud. this typing is tiring….good thing cause cue to stop

    • jaybrandsma says:

      Nice one! I still have one term paper I did for a 400 Communication Theory class. This was the time I actually went to the library, did research, and worked on it ahead of time – I got 100% on it. The prof said it was one of the best papers he’s ever read. Not sure if I could do that level of work again, but I don’t expect I’ll ever need to!

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