I’d like to apologize in advance for the extreme sentimentality of this one. But it’s been weighing on me for a while. I make no excuses for anything I’m about to share. I’m just… explaining.
I wish for a lot of things. I don’t mean for things to have, things to achieve. Those are there, but I’m talking about things that can’t be. I wish… things had turned out different. I wish… I had kept in touch with some friends. I wish… I hadn’t burned so many bridges. I wish… they hadn’t died. What prompted this? Nothing specific. It’s always the little things.
It took me way too long to finish school. I know some of you might say that we all move along at our own pace, and that’s true. But not for me. School wasn’t hard. I didn’t have other obligations. It wasn’t money. It was just–me. I wasted time. I lost myself and didn’t really care to find myself. I invested my time and passion in the wrong things. I finally finished school, but I spent most of the best years of my life spinning my wheels trying only half-heartedly to get there.
When I was younger, I had many good friends. Really good friends. They should’ve been lifelong friends. Some of them moved. I moved. And the effort to stay close just wasn’t there. Friends of a season, my mom would call them. There was one, I would’ve considered him the brother I never had. I can’t remember the last time I talked to him. My best friend in college… I don’t even know what happened. We just stopped talking after his wife became pregnant. The same thing seems to have happened with another good friend. Those relationships I don’t take credit for losing. Those were choices that they made, and I actually worked at trying to keep those ties strong. But there are others, pretty much all the others… those are on me. Why? That’s hard to say. I’m not very sociable. I have treated a lot of friendships very casually, and that’s come back to hurt me. Some I stopped talking to just because I didn’t feel like putting in the effort. It takes a lot of energy out of me to be friendly, to call someone. It takes discipline, and I wasn’t ready for that.
I think about being with someone, and I recall the last time–maybe the only time–I was truly happy in a relationship. She eventually broke things off, but I was the one that really ended it. It’s ironic that time apart was what she and I needed most to realize how much we loved each other. And I messed it up. (Don’t ask me how. It’s really stupid. I was really stupid.)
There’s a lot of regret.
It’s like a drug, spending time in regret. Not so much that it feels good, but it’s… addictive to reflect on the better choices you could’ve made. Where would I be now if I hadn’t wasted so much time in college avoiding college? What would life be like if I hadn’t gone completely stupid in the relationship with the girl I loved? Where would I be if my dad hadn’t died? Or if I had greater discipline? I mean… it’s just so addictive.
In case you’re wondering, none of this is why I started writing. I’ve been a writer since I was seven, back when life was pretty much perfect. And I believe I always would’ve been a writer, no matter what other path I took. I just probably wouldn’t be writing about the same things. In that sense, my life choices have very much made me the writer I am today.
I like the writer I’ve become. I’m confident in my abilities, and it’s the one thing in my life I’m categorically proud of. (I am aware I essentially said the same thing three different ways.) I’m not looking for advice or anything like that, though I won’t turn it away if you offer. I just wanted to get these things down on the page and hopefully out of my mind. Thanks for indulging me.