Monday, February 24, 2014

Blogging Lounge #4 "Dear Younger Self......"

When I saw the prompt this week, I said, "Duh, that's obvious:  Dear 21 year old self:  don't take that first hit of heroin!"

But is that the only thing I have to say to myself, in all of my 41 years?

It's easy to play the woulda, shoulda, coulda game.  But if we really could go back in time and change things, or prevent ourselves from making mistakes, where would that leave us today?  Wiser?  Better off?  Maybe possibly worse off?  There's no answer to that, and no end to the mistakes made over a lifetime that ended up being strong lessons learned.  Would we have learned those lessons some other way?  It's a circular question that has no end and no answer.

It can range from the comical.......

Dear 10 year old self:  it's really not a good idea to try and jump your bike off Kevin's shed roof.  (One of my front teeth is still crooked from the faceplant I took that day.)

Dear 14 year old self:  you may want to rethink the leopard print underpants.  (don't ask)

Dear 17 year old self:  weed and hair dye don't mix.  (I may have to repost that blog write some day.)

Dear 4 hour ago self:  that spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy's you had for lunch is going to give you some wicked heartburn.  (self explanatory)

.......to the tragic......

Dear 21 year old self:  please, please don't drive home tonight. (Lissa would probably still be alive today.)

Dear 23 year old self:  please, please take this first stint in rehab seriously.  (you will save yourself years of pain and wasted opportunities)

Dear 27 year old self:  take this suicide attempt and psychiatric hospital stay as the wake up call you need to get help.  (Instead of going right back to the same lifestyle that prompted it in the first place.)

Dear 33 year old self:  you're doing a great job of staying clean and sober, but if you just believed you deserved to be happy, you'd be.......happy.  (Instead of miserable and white knuckling your way through sobriety, ever on the edge of relapse.)

I could go on and on in the tragic vein for a long time.  I've lived a lifetime in regret mode, wishing "If only I had done this.....if only I hadn't done that."  But somehow it was never enough to really make me change my ways.  Maybe that's what I needed to go through, repeatedly, to get where I'm at today.....finally willing to end my love affair with drugs and destructive behaviors.  If I had the opportunity to actually talk to my younger self about these things, it would have fallen on deaf ears.  I wasn't ready to learn the lesson.  Even at my darkest, most desperate moments, I wasn't ready to learn that goddamn lesson. 

Do I like that I've wasted the last 20 years of my life buried in a pit of my own making?  No.  I'm fighting against the waves of panic that tell me it's too late, there's no point, why start now, etc.  But I also realize that there must be a reason why I'm still here, against the odds.  And to keep moving forward, I can't play the "woulda, shoulda, coulda" game.  I've been through and seen a lot of things in my life that have shaped who I am today.  Some for the worse, but some for the better, too. 

There is one "shoulda," that stands out though, that I do honestly regret not making and wish I could go back and remedy.......

Dear 8 year old self:  it's OK to tell someone about the abuse going on at home.  (Maybe the trajectory of your life would have taken an entirely different turn if you had lived elsewhere.)



Posted for The Blogging Lounge, prompt #4:  "Dear Younger Self"

14 comments:

  1. You are exactly where you are meant to be. I believe that. You are going in the better direction now because this is where you have grown to. You are ready. The failures, the regrets, all bring you here and now and it's a good and worthy thing you do now.

    Dear younger Steven, I'm so sad for the pain your choices have caused and even sadder that no adult you when you needed it. I am so proud of how you are walking this new and uncertain road today. I am glad you can look back and see the damage and hope that helps strengthen your idea of self-worth. You deserve to be happy. Let's get there.

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    1. I know I'm where I'm supposed to be at right now....sometimes I'm OK with it, and sometimes it just rankles me. The last few weeks have been a curve ball lesson in patience.

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  2. But your 8 y/o self was scared of what could have happened. And the abuser knew it.

    Yeah. You can't turn back the clock. You can only go forward.

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    1. I think that's the hardest part to accept, that there is nothing I could have done about it.

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  3. That thing I sent you is basically this. What would you be doing if you had never... and it’s true it might not be better. I guess that’s the eternal question I ask myself. Oh it’s not too late by the way.

    Lie back and fantasize. If you hadn’t taken the road you did, who would you be today?

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    1. That's almost too scary to contemplate.

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. I always wonder if I'd take a "do-over" or two if offered. Suspect I would. But I agree you never know - it could be worse. more imortant to concentrate on making now better

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  6. I don't curse...my characters do. But right now I want to curse that damned drug!

    Dear Steve, you deserve every breath you take no matter what that damned drug is telling you.

    I survived a road trip with my driver nodding off. To this day, I don't know what made me walk up there to find him passed out behind the wheel. I was way in the back of the van in my own little personal hell. Four of us could have died that night. Not to mention the people the van could have hit. Or if I had told a close 19yr-old friend who made it a contest to see who of US could take the most downers to knock it off...would he still be alive. Or if I'd found a way to comfort my cousin before he walked in front of a train...it doesn't have to be about drugs. Sometimes life just sucks. I have to stop thinking before I come up with more.
    Don't look back! Just don't. NEVER GIVE UP!

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  7. well I see my comments are not going to show up when I post from my phone..bummer some of my best thoughts come at night and I apologize. WE could both spend an exorbitant amount of time with regret.But you know that damn old saying that everything that has happened has brought me this point in life? It took me along time to get this one too, but it's true it made me who I am and It made you who you are, possibly one of the most compassionate and loving people I know. You know because you have walked through the fire, what others are dealing with.I know most of time you feel your head is just barely above water..I dig, I was there and now 15 years later it's my mission to make a difference in others lives. because I know..as you know the damage that can be done and how hard it is to turn your life around.. You know the way back, there's no turning back now. The shame and regret is on THEM ( those who abused us~not us ) we are and were just innocent children who loved those people who abused us. And there is no shame for that..we should have been able to trust them. So we must accept and give up on the hope that things could have been different. People "just are" as much as it hurts..they just are..users abusers, evil, horrible..and when it's a loved one it's magnified one million times..I'm here I'm listening as always..

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    1. I turned comment moderation on (my own reasons) so that's why it didn't show up right away this time.

      I know, as far as my childhood goes, that it's a game of futility to wonder if anything could have been different. It's hard to let it go though. As for the rest....well, hard to let that go too. It's going to take a while to reprogram my brain to positive mode but I am willing to try. You say loving and compassionate, I immediately think "well that's because you don't know the real me inside". it's like I don't know how to even process it. It's foreign. But like I said I'm willing to try. That's something I've never done before.

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  8. Environment is everything, and I'm sorry yours was less than ideal. It sounds like you've come a long way on your road to recovery. God Bless.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com/2014/02/dear-younger-self.html

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  9. The journey that we make of this life is ours alone. That child that needed to be rescued from the abuse can still be saved, but it has to be done by you now. There may come a day when someone walks a mile (or more) in your shoes, and runs across you somewhere along the way, and you really will have an opportunity to tell that "younger you" something that will make a difference. The thing is, we can only guess what information will be given to us through our trials, that will eventually be needed again. It has happened to me more times than I can count now, and the results of those conversations are not always visible, though enough of them have been for me to trust that they will make a difference. Some of the experiences shared came back to me in the form of a thank you for changing someone's life, twenty, or thirty years after the fact. Like ripples in a pond, the reach you have can be so broad that you may not know it, until a decade has gone by, or two, or three, or more. Just keep being the best you you can be, and trust the decisions you make that make your spirit soar.

    http://bloggitwrite.blogspot.com/2014/02/dear-red-theblogginglounge.html

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  10. *tears* The past cannot be changed. No matter how much I think about it.
    It felt good to read this, if that makes any sense. *smiles*
    Thank you.

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