“If only I had a chance to learn from my mistakes, I would, but there are too many things you don’t do twice; in fact, the most important things are things you don’t do twice, so you can’t do them better the second time. You do something wrong, and see what the right thing would have been, and are ready to do it, should you have the chance again, but the next experience is quite different, and your judgment is wrong again, and though you are now prepared for this experience should it repeat itself, you are not prepared for the next experience.”
From “A Second Chance,” from The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis.
This is pretty much all you can really learn as an adult; that you made mistakes, and inevitably, you will make more. If you’re lucky, you just don’t make the same ones, although I think it takes a lot of therapy to “see what the right thing would have been.”
Hindsight isn’t even 20/20. More like an 80/20 copay.