Someone asked me not that long ago whether or not I would go back and do the whole marriage thing over again (if Evan were completely out of the mix…I’d still have the kiddo but not the divorce).
I thought long and hard about that. The whole key to a life well-lived is that on our deathbed we don’t look back with regrets, right? That’s what they say anyway, isn’t it? That when you reach that point where life meets death, you shouldn’t have to think about all the things that you could have done but didn’t and all the things you did do that were a bit on the fucked up side. So, I had to ask myself is that really how I see life? A life well-lived is one without regret? Do I have regrets?
They seem like such simple questions, but in reality, they’re anything but…
Looking back over my life, there are certainly some questionable choices. If I hadn’t, for example, let that kid in my house when I was 13, I never would have been raped. If I hadn’t moved back in with my dad, I never would have been alone in the first place. If I had chosen to go to Georgia State University when I was accepted at 17, I would have gotten out of Small Town, U.S.A. If I had chosen that path, maybe I wouldn’t have ended up getting my heart broken at 21. If I hadn’t had my heart broken, I wouldn’t have taken my first pharmacy job. I wouldn’t have met my ex-husband. I wouldn’t be sitting right where I am right now typing these words.
So, that begs the question…
Do I regret where I am right now, who I am?
I’m supposed to say “no” here right?
HA. The answer truly is a no, but it’s more complicated than some heart-felt, meme-worthy inspirational
Truthfully, the whole thing of it is, we are, in part, a collection of our past experiences. When it comes to coping with a fucked up past, people like to tell you that you, as a person, aren’t the sum of your past. You aren’t what happened to you. You’re more than where you’ve been. And, in a way, I suppose, that’s true. The entirety of your being isn’t based on your personal history. But, I can tell you from quite a lot of personal experience in my arguably short 33 (in September) years , that the events of the past, all those questionable decisions and even the parts of my life that I had no deciding power over (like the parents I was born to, the area I was born in) have all shaped the me that I am right now sitting here pondering the concept of regret. As much horror as was involved in some of the darkest memories of my childhood, in that memory of being tackled on dirty brown carpet and pleading “no,” as much pain and sorrow as has pervaded my life at times, I can’t say I regret the way things have gone. I don’t even know that I would go back and change anything if I could.
I suppose from the outside looking in that might seem a bit on the insane side, but each of those events made me stronger, made me a fighter, gave me a voice and a passion to make change and work for social justice. I look back and sometimes I’m amazed at myself. So, I think, perhaps, a life well-lived is one full of lessons that could, from some angles resemble regret if you’re in a pissy mood. And, when you’re on your deathbed, I assume you look back at that life and all the things you learned about yourself along the way and you think maybe it wasn’t perfect but damn was it one hell of a run.
Would I go back and do the whole marriage thing over again knowing the way it ended and the way I lost myself in those years? You bet your fucking ass I would. I learned a lot about myself after it was all said and done—about how strong I really was to make it as a single mom on my own. I learned more about who I want to be, what I want from life, from a partner. It may not have been a fairytale romance, but it certainly gave me a new respect for myself that I wouldn’t trade for anything honestly.
When the time come, I’m pretty sure the last thoughts in my head are going to be full of love…for everything that was.
This has been another edition of Sunday Confessions. As you may have guessed, the prompt was "regret." I hope you'll check out More Than Cheese and Beer for the rest of the link ups and her Facebook page for anonymous confessions.