“Hindsight is 20/20” as We Enter 2020!

Dear Reader:

Before Anne left for Florida with family for the holidays she had made a connection that she thought I would have fun with as a post introducing the new year. She was right…a great early Christmas present.

I saved it purposefully for New Year’s Eve as we think about resolutions and dreams. Since we both love John O’Donohue’s prose she ended up finding the catalyst for the post in his book To Bless the Space Between Us.

Anne said as she reflected on the new year 2020…suddenly a little neuron threw out the old maxim “Hindsight is 20/20.”  She was hurrying to pack but she knew I would love to take this connection and expand upon it.

So being the old history teacher…I always want to know the origin and history behind an expression…in other words, the etymology of the expression.

Hindsight is 20/20. This is a saying which means that “It’s easy to know the right thing to do after something has happened, but it’s hard to predict the future.” Let me explain why this phrase has that meaning. First, “hindsight” means “thinking about things after they’ve happened”.

The expression was probably created sometime after 1862 when the Snellen Eye Chart developed the famous formula for identifying a person who has perfect vision… 20/20 according to the chart.

Don’t we always have better clarity when we look back on a dilemma or decision through 20/20 clear vision than trying to predict an outcome that hasn’t been resolved yet.

How many times have we caught ourselves lamenting over the fact that our foresight is much weaker than our hindsight and how we wish we could find a better balance on the scales between the two.

And now here we are….about to enter the year 2020… filled with hope and anticipation, feelings our foresight wants…but without the wisdom of experiencing it yet with hindsight. It is an age old human quandary with no easy answers.

But stop! Anne actually found some helpful tidbits in mastering more hindsight abilities in our daily living in the moments we live them.

*Before I share these with you…I must confess I get so excited about foresights….ideas evolving…that I forgot to complete the information available to me, on Anne’s email, before charging in with my own ideas.


Sunday night when I pulled Anne’s two week-old email with the 20/20 idea I excitedly saved it so yesterday morning I could readily pull it again. And I did…9:00 found me pulling the email and re-reading it…the only part missing was a list of ideas on how to use a daily “hindsight” check-off list each night to see how well we all lived our life that day.

I knew the source, the book and author, even the page…but Murphy’s Law kicked in and I couldn’t find my book copy I had here at the house. So I texted Anne and asked if she had the list somewhere that she could copy and send me.

In the meantime I had torn the book shelves apart hunting for John O’Donohue’s book and then googling trying to find that specific list…all to no avail.  Miraculously, however, I found it on my third or fourth on-line attempt, texted Anne back and told her I was good to go…no problem.

It was only then after I went back to the original email…that I discovered I had stopped reading it too soon…after Have a Merry Christmas- Anne. *If in fact, I had scrolled down two more spaces…she had sent the list the first time around.

Sigh: “Hindsight really is 20/20!” 🙂

I love this list O’Donohue created for us to use each day. We don’t have to try to do them all obviously every day but it is interesting to see how many or how few we actually do live or react to in an ordinary day.

*I hope these will make you pause and consider how your day was spent and if it can be improved. (*Mine sure can!)

At the End of the Day: A Mirror of Questions by John O’Donohue

What dreams did I create last night?

Where did my eyes linger today?

Where was I blind?

Where was I hurt without anyone noticing?

What did I learn today?

What did I read?

What new thoughts visited me?

What differences did I notice in those closest to me?

Whom did I neglect?

Where did I neglect myself?

What did I begin today that might endure?

How were my conversations?

What did I do today for the poor and the excluded?

Did I remember the dead today?

When could I have exposed myself to the risk of something different?

Where did I allow myself to receive love?

With whom today did I feel most myself?

What reached me today? How did it imprint?

Who saw me today?

What visitations had I from the past and from the future?

What did I avoid today?

From the evidence – why was I given this day?

Credit: John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings


Can you believe it is Eloise’s second birthday? Walsh reminded me that all their children have come on a ‘special day.’ Rutledge arrived on Father’s Day in June, Lachlan on St. Patrick’s Day in March and Eloise New Year’s Eve in a rare snowy/ ice storm in the lowcountry!

Because of the popular Eloise children book series, about the little girl who lives at The Plaza in NYC,  the Plaza gives “Eloise Birthday Parties” to little girls by the same name….Mollie said she hoped they could participate in one such affair while Eloise is still little one year.

Something to look forward to in the future…perhaps!

In the meantime Happy Birthday our little feisty southern two year old with your pearls. You have added so much fun and laughter to our family! Happy New Year Eve and Birth!

Guess what is brewing on 100 Rainbow Road? Little Big Red is about to burst wide open with its first bloom in a long time.

Jo sent me a New Year’s gift…several Charlie Brown life lessons…I love this one as I am saddened by the loss of a long-time teacher buddy and friend…Ellen Styles. A star in her own right…all her life! She is sorely missed by family and many many friends!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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5 Responses to “Hindsight is 20/20” as We Enter 2020!

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Very clever…read it to Fred while we are awaiting a medical test….


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Nothing serious I hope…here’s a healthier brighter 2020 for all of us. Happy New Year to the Edwards family! Love y’all!


  2. Rujuta says:

    I like the post! That’s so true.. we do tend to notice things only in hindsight.. also, thanks for sharing the list!!
    I wish you a very happy, healthy and creative new year 2020! 🙂


  3. Beverly Dufford says:

    The list from “At The End of the Day” is a great one. Yes, Ellen was an outstanding teacher and a great person to know. I know she made a difference for many people.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Isn’t it a wonderful thought ….that even after we are gone…some words or action will live on and transform another human’s life? The best game of dot to dot when we never stop connecting with others.


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