I used the above photo for two reasons: first I was partying like the devil that night (on Fire Island for a few days), and second, when I look back, I have no desire to return to that time. Naive, blind to the truth and too easily influenced by others. No regrets, just looking forward to the future. I have some control over my future and no control over my past.
Lamenting About What Once Was
It’s so easy to look back and glamorize your past. “I was so much happier then; I was thinner when I ran marathons; there were no signs of age; nothing hurt when I was 20; my problems were small; I had potential partners; the drugs were good and the nights were wild.” You get the picture.
Today, I’m focusing on what I don’t miss. Just a reminder that there is a reason the past is the past, and furthermore, what makes the future so attractive.
What I Don’t Miss
When you’re young and stupid, you make mistakes you can never erase. Enumerating my mistakes would be a waste of time and would bore you to tears. Let’s just say that I did things I’m not proud of and I doubt I am alone in this feeling. Fortunately for me, I lived to tell my story. Being one of the lucky ones who survived is not something I take for granted. At some point I pondered that I could either continue down that rabbit hole of destruction or crawl out of the hole and make a life I could be proud of. The latter was the better choice.
There are a number of things about being young that I do not miss:
Most importantly for the sake of survival and peace of mind, I do not miss being insecure. If there is one message I can send to the youth it is this: Be true to yourself, embrace your body type, know that you are enough, and forgive yourself. Therapy, failure, and friends who love me dearly, have helped me to become a more secure person.
I do not miss lying to myself and others about my sexuality. I need not say more.
The constant fretting about all the shit I didn’t have … or need.
I spent a bit too much time caring about what people thought of me or anything else. This has been a difficult one to shake, but I confess lately, it’s been easier.
Along the same lines, I wasted far too much time being with people who either only cared about themselves or who cared little about me.
There were battles not worth fighting; I fought some way too hard and lost a little bit of me in the process.
Who among us hasn’t spent way too much time feeling sorry for ourselves?
There was always a voice in my head telling me that I shouldn’t be spending time having fun — I needed to be serious and work hard and focus on the future. Most of it was nonsense. That voice has thankfully been snuffed out.
I don’t miss countless hours in the classroom listening to some professor who knew very little about very little. Not always the case, but often the case.
Working for a narcissistic power monger stole years of my life. No one is to blame but me. I don’t miss her or that time of my life.
I have spent too much time on my skin; a delicate coating that has protected me and caused me way too much stress. I’ve mostly shed that burden.
I, for the most part, do not miss my manic, bipolar, sadly broken mother.
Being terrible at sports and beating myself up for it. Marathon running took care of that.
Friends and colleagues (people I thought were friends) who either actively tried to take me down or whose gossip was divisive and hurtful. Not bitter, just glad it’s over.
This process of growing older and looking back can truly help to put things in perspective. Now is the best time of my life. Now I know my truth. Now I know the significance of pain and healing. Now I know and embrace who I am. I understand time and I am grateful for whatever time I have left. Treat me with love, kindness and respect, and I will return the same in spades.
My Previous Blog and the Relocation Dilemma
Thank you for all of the comments and feedback; really good stuff to ponder. I am ravenously pursuing an idea; stay tuned.
Hoping my trip to France in August sticks, but if it does not, it does not. More time with Paco and the Algarve coast.