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Why You Don’t Need To Go Back in Time and Do It All Over Again

Maybe this one should be called “why life is so good to you, but you don’t realize it”.


Starting dirty is amazing.

Remember how video games were back in the 1970s, 1980s and even the first part of the 1990s? No? Well, let me jog your memory: you couldn’t save!

YA COULDN’T SAVE! You couldn’t save your place. So if you messed up, you were back at square one, as if nothing had happened. And you had to do it all in one sitting — you couldn’t take a rest. Maybe you could leave your console on, but even if your mother was cool with you doing things that were “bad for the TV”, she would inevitably come around with the vacuum cleaner and inadvertently yank the power cord out of the outlet.

Have you ever wished you could go back in time and do it all over again, knowing what you know now?

Well, stop doing that.

Because that’s what it would be like. It would be like first gen Mario. Yeah, you’d have all your wisdom from your previous tries, but you’d also be living the plot of Groundhog Day.

Now, as usual, there are massive logical holes in my reasoning here; I’ve never been accused of constructing airtight arguments. For one thing, what you want is not the ability to go start totally clean, but the ability to go back to a savepoint.

Well, life kind of gives you that already. You can’t quite restart from a savepoint, but you can start anew today — every day is New Year’s. Every second presents you with new choices — with new opportunity to make new choices. And, you get to keep all the wisdom and XP you’ve gained so far.

So don’t restart your Japanese learning from scratch. Don’t decapitate yourself just because you have a zit. Don’t burn down the library to fix a typo. Start with everything you have now. Start proud and dirty.

  4 comments for “Why You Don’t Need To Go Back in Time and Do It All Over Again

  1. Shironamushin
    June 14, 2014 at 20:42

    If I could go back… I would start studying Japanese at age 12 (10 yeears ago). If I would have started at age 12 and would have been going as hard as I have been going for the past 4-5 years now, I would be sooo much more fluent and ready for college level Japanese… lol.

    Well I cant really obsesses on that… I have to be happy that I started studying it at 18 yrs old

    • Nate
      June 14, 2014 at 22:16


      What if scenario’s are the least productive use of ones time. You can come up with as many of them as you like. What if I had this, had that, did this, pursued that, dabbled in this.

      What’s important is you’re studying hard now. Enjoy it.

  2. Legend
    June 18, 2014 at 12:55

    A more obvious analogy with save files to me is that even in unsaveable video games you can’t avoid starting dirty every time you play. While there might not be a save file on the cartridge, there is one in your brain! Which is exactly how you’re still able to make progress in it.

    Just like Super Mario Bros 1, [Japanese] is old school and comes with no battery backup. There isn’t anything to wipe, so the only option to make progress is to play the game and let your brain save file fill up with the data you need to master it.

    (it’s all pretty shaky but let’s just say I learned from the best.)

  3. three dots
    June 23, 2014 at 08:42

    Lately, I’ve been thinking of things like that a lot, too. I had 6 months of free time, as in free time without any compulsory work or school at all. I wasted it by lying around… actually, I’m not sure what I did. Now it’s coming to an end in three weeks and all I can think of is, if I’d been more productive… I’d have completed JLPT N3 by now, if I did this… if I did that…

    I know thinking that way changes absolutely nothing but I still can’t help it. Worse is, while there’s still three weeks left of the holiday, I just can’t find it in myself to work up the motivation to actually start learning Japanese. Quite a few of the articles here just tell you to go watch anime and read manga… the problem with this is, I rarely get internet access which makes it difficult to do so. I love anime to death honestly and this “holiday” has been killing me more than anything but now that it’s nearly over I want to restart it anyway.

    Helpppp I dont even get myself anymore.

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