A green fire hydrant sitting on the side of a road

Yesterday I Turned Back Time

Yesterday I turned back time. Really! I reset my lawn sprinkler timer, which was more than an hour off. It was surreal to watch the numbers go backward—so much so that when I reached the desired time, I didn’t stop. I let it go back a full 24 hours, one hour at a time.

A fire hydrant sitting on the side of a road


As the numbers counted backward, I let my mind wander. If I could, would I want to re-live the time that has passed? Would I want to put my life on rewind?

Re-think, re-do, re-live?

At first, the idea was exhilarating. I would get another chance to accept or reject all those credit card offers that brought me to my knees. Having the chance to apply all that I know now to my life the way it was then—surely that would change the course of my life dramatically.

But the more I thought, the more I rejected the idea. If I couldn’t do things perfectly the first time around, would I get it right the second time? Or would I want a third, fourth, or even fifth try? Knowing me, that would be a real problem; I’d get stuck in an endless loop of trying to live life perfectly.

As ashamed as I am about all the boneheaded decisions I made and things that I did, and as much as I might want to have a chance to right those wrongs, everything that has happened in my life brings me to the place where I am right now.

While I may not be proud of each individual choice I’ve made, the choices are woven together into an intricate pattern, a tapestry that is my life.

Life is like a tapestry

Just like any piece of stitchery, a tapestry has a wrong side and a right side. The back is where all the knots and mixed-up threads hide. When you turn it over, it can be amazing to see how all of those random pieces of thread work together to become something beautiful.

I couldn’t help but think about the beautiful word “redemption”—the act of buying back or repurchasing something that has been pawned or mortgaged. As I repaid the horrific debt I ran up so many years ago, I got my life back one dollar at a time. I realized full redemption when the debt was fully repaid.

Back to reality

I finally got the sprinkler’s clock set correctly. With great relief, I shut the little door and walked away, in real time. I walked into a new day, an unspoiled 24 hours. It was an opportunity to do things right, to make good choices and wise decisions.

We don’t have to turn back time to clean the slate. That’s what we do every morning. Today, make your clean slate count. Make this a day filled with joy and wise decisions that never will make you wish you could turn back time.



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  1. Kay Jones says:

    You have been so open and honest about your experiences. You have helped countless of us get out of our messes or learned from you to avoid the financial problems you had. You have been a great role model and should be very proud of that.

  2. BEB says:

    Hi Mary: I just received a Eufy robo vacuum cleaner as a gift. Are these machines meant to replace upright vacuum cleaners? Mine does a good job, but I wonder how does it compare to an upright.

    Thanks for your help.

  3. Kathy Linklater says:

    Mary–If you didn’t “mess up” your life financially many years ago, where would the rest of us be? You have made a HUGE impact on so many people’s financial life. I have followed you for YEARS. I love all your recommendations for products and all the tips. Keep it up!

  4. Laurel says:

    What a truly inspiring way to start a new week, Mary! I am at an age at which I have too frequently found myself wishing for redos of all kinds covering several decades – how much “better things would have turned out if only…” However, I wholeheartedly agree with your conclusion, and I know that I, too, am indeed just where I should be with lots of lessons learned along the way. I truly appreciate your positive approach to everything you share with us, Mary, certainly including this poignant reminder that I fully intend to keep front of mind for the duration – thanks so much!

  5. Karen says:

    Beautifully said!! I love mornings and the possibilities a new day brings. Your article made me think of a quote from Anne of Green Gables-
    “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

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