Let me begin with the mandatory apology for not writing for so long. I took a few stabs, wrote a few paragraphs that are now lurking in draft purgatory (these may end up in the same state), but at some point I realised I had no thoughts on finishing them. Everything feels very heavy, as though I'm trying to slog through quicksand and I am losing the motivation to get to the other side. What's the point?
When I graduated college 7 years ago (oh my God) it was completely without a plan. I knew what I wanted: I wanted to go home and be safe and goof off and be young. The world scared me and I felt no more grown up at 21 than I did at 16 or 9. So I went home to Poughkeepsie and my mother and started looking for jobs.
I regret that now.
I was encouraged by people who knew me to pursue writing. This seemed foolish to me as newspapers were shrivelling up; I didn't have enough in my head to write a full book (so I told myself). But the biggest lie I told myself was that I wasn't sure I could write on demand; I told myself that it would more challenging than worthwhile to crank out piece after piece of writing. Better to look for an office job and let writing be my hobby.
I regret that now.
My mother, after I got my first real job, commented that my sister was probably spending the equivalent of my yearly salary on her dog in terms of care-taking. She said, in all seriousness, that I should be the dog's caretaker; move in with my sister and that would be my job. I rejected this idea because I didn't want to be a dog walker, and I didn't want to mooch off my sister (we also start to rub each other the wrong way after more than 10 days), and I thought I had a decent job, so I kept plugging away at it.
I regret that now.
I wish I had not listened to my newly-graduated fears and retreated to the safe haven of childhood nostalgia. There was $23,000 sitting in my savings account from my grandmother. I wish I had said, "I'm taking my money and staying Savannah/moving to Portland/Chicago." Why didn't I trust that, if it didn't work out, there were people willing to help me?
I wish I had been willing to give up a little bit of quality of life that I was used to and pursued writing. For a long time I've told myself that I didn't really have much of a conviction for what I wanted to do with my life. I said I wanted to just live and have the opportunity to spend time with my family and my friends. I never thought of a job as a way to spend time doing something that I like or time to learn. But I like writing, and I never had trouble thinking of something to write for an assignment in class. Probably writing on demand would be very easy for me. Why didn't I have any fire in my belly to push my writing into the world? Or rather, why did I keep trying to stomp it out? This feels like realising just how badly I've abused a steadfast friend.
I wish I had swallowed my pride and asked my sister if she'd be willing to let me look after her dog. It may have been I wouldn't have done it for long, but I would've been in my birth city where there might have been other opportunities.
My motto, until now, has been "no regrets." This is not meant in a YOLO kind of way. To have no regrets, one must be sure of one's decision. So, in true Libra fashion, weigh all the information, consider carefully then act and don't look back. There's no point to regrets and wishing one road had been taken instead of the one that was. That changes nothing. But now I'm suspecting that all the times I weighed carefully and then acted were the wrong times. Or that maybe that's the wrong thing to do at all. Dan and I were talking last night of past bodily injuries and he told a story of how he was nearly sliced in 2 by sheet metal at a steel fabrication site he worked at post-grad. He described how he leaped over the sheet metal, dove, and rolled on the ground and then lay down perfectly to avoid the second swing of slicing metal. "It was total Matrix shit," he said. I marvelled at how during these moments the survival instinct, normally slumbering somewhere back in the brain, wakes up and guides limbs and appendages to safety with accomplishments that could never be repeated if tried. Then we agreed that there are times when over-thinking is fatal, when pausing to weigh your options only allows catastrophe to catch up.
Well, catastrophe is a bit strong. Catastrophe implies that I lost my job suddenly, or that someone unexpectedly died. Neither of those things have happened (knock on wood). There's plenty decisions I've made that worked out well for me: Marrying Dan, getting a dog come to mind (in fact,they're all that's coming to mind). Overall, though, I think I've screwed up. My catastrophe might be like climate change: very real, but slow to show effects, and sometimes I'm tempted to dismiss it (my situation, not climate change; NEVER climate change).
Any suggestions as to how I repair and rebuild?