It's tempting to want change the world, especially when hindsight becomes foresight through time travel, or thoughts of it at least. We all become experts on what should have happened on any given day โ€” everything from having something different for breakfast to changing a major world event. But today, we're asking you to think small: what is the event in your life you wish you could change, and how would you change it?

While James Cole, the protagonist of Syfy's new series 12 Monkeys, Fridays at 9/8c, is charged with saving all of mankind through time travel, we're not going to ask anything quite so dire of you. We're just going to get personal. As potential chrononauts, you won't have the ability to affect the timeline of the world at large โ€” not directly, anyways. Stick to your own personal timeline, and see where it takes you.

If it helps, I'll even provide ideas and examples, to get you started on the right path.

Something Bad

This one's pretty obvious. Losing a relative in a tragic way, a nasty breakup, or a stupid mistake that cost you something special โ€” just go back and change it. Tell your significant other to think things over, or don't oversleep for that interview, and everything could be different.


It sounds like an easy choice, but tragedy can define us, and everything ends eventually, right? After all, one of the greatest figures in pop culture would never have become a hero he did if he hadn't lost his parents one night in a Gotham City alleyway.

Something Good

When I was a kid, my parents almost never told me to clean my room. This sounds great, and it was pretty great then, but as an adult, it's terrible. I've had to spend years learning lessons that my friends grew up with. How to do laundry, how to put things away neatly, making one's bed every morning โ€” I was in my twenties before these became habit for me.


However, without the free time afforded by my messy room, I would have probably done a lot less reading - a habit that led to becoming a writer later in life. On second thought, maybe I'll choose to leave my socks on the floor.

Old Habits Die Hard

Do you wish you'd never started smoking at sixteen, or swear you should have given up red meat years ago? Now you can, but be careful โ€” if you met your best friend during a smoke break or at a burger joint, you might find yourself lonely.


Stop and take stock of all of things those carnivorous, smoking friends of yours have done for you. Would your life be better off without those moments, too? The mysterious causes and butterfly effects of our actions leave us feeling kind of helpless when it comes to changing definitive moments in our lives, so what can we safely change and not ruin our future?

The Way We Look at Ourselves

It might be a little schmaltzy for a world like that of 12 Monkeys, but hear me out โ€” it took me two and a half decades to like myself. Gross, right? And that's not anyone's fault, I couldn't have controlled what people said about me, or how they felt, short of constantly threatening violence to everyone around me for my entire life until they're terrified of me. (Which is an option with time travel. Not a great one, but it's there.) Rather than making sweeping changes that directly affect your life today, just remind the you that's there that everything turns out okay. Sometimes, that makes all the difference.

But It Wouldn't Be an Open Thread if We Didn't Ask You

Go on. You know you want to. Ignore my good advice and tell us โ€” if you were James Cole, on a mission back through time to save humanity, where would you stop and get out along the way? Would you simply free your teenage self from being trapped in a locker, or would you be an early investor in a little company called Google? Tell us below, but we careful โ€” I may just go back in time and think of it first. And tune into Syfy's new series 12 Monkeys, Fridays at 9/8c.

This post is a sponsored collaboration between Syfy and Studio@Gawker.