Moments I Regret – Introduction

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This is the intro I wrote years ago for my book called “Moments I Regret” (which I am still writing – over 100,000 words and growing every day). Reading this reminds me that I do have talent as a writer, even if it seldom appears.

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It’s funny how some memories hang around for a lifetime while others are quickly forgotten, tucked away in some file cabinet in your mind where you’ll never run across them again. Unless, of course, it has a smell associated with it. Then, one day, out of the blue, you get a whiff of that smell and the memory comes flooding back like it happened twenty minutes ago. It’s wild how a smell is such a powerful thing especially since smelling is becoming so much less important in our world.

But going back to memories. Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and all of us realize the mistakes we’ve have made after we’ve made them. Some are huge and life-altering, others not so much. It’s kinda like choosing a line at the grocery store only to find out it’s the slowest or the fastest. No, it probably won’t change the course of your life, but then again, it might.

Sometimes we think about what we would do differently if we had the chance to do it over again. But, of course, we can’t do it over again. So, we sit and dwell on the mistakes we made that are forever living on our memories. Maybe that is the true meaning of life – learning how to live with your mistakes.

Oh, I know.  I hear the advice you are all giving me “But it’s those mistakes that shape the person you are today” or “You learn more from your mistakes that you do your successes” or “There’s nothing you can do about it, so just move on”….

To that I say “Wow. Thank you very much! I’d never thought of that stuff before! Those quick one-liners makes everything all better. I’m now the happiest fucking person alive. Thank you so very much for those great words of wisdom!”

Funny thing about advice; Most of it is total shit. Hello? Do you think I’m that stupid? These people think that uttering some simple cliché will make all the years of pain and regret go away? Shit. I’ve been dwelling on my mistakes for years … analyzing them, agonizing over them, inflating them, deflating them. And here you think you can come along and you got just the thing to cure it all?.

“If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen!” “For every door you close, a window opens!” AHHHHH! I know everybody means well and they are really trying to help. But we live in a “Take a pill” society. We all think that every problem can be miraculously fixed with the flick of a switch. “There. All better. All I had to do was flick that switch. I wondered what the hell it was. Now I see, It’s the ‘all better’ switch”.

Here’s my advice for people who like to give advice: “The best advice you can give is to shut the hell up!”

I’m sorry, I just get pissed with people who give those stupid one-line cliché’s. I mean, don’t get me wrong. Not all advice is bad. After all, most of the advice I give to other people is extremely valuable. The problem is they just don’t want to listen to it. Or their little minds can’t comprehend it. Usually I have to put it into easy terms that their simple minds will understand. I try to come up with a simple line that is easy for them to remember. Something like, er, well, like a cliché, I guess.…

Uh… yeah, so anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, memories.

There are many I have stuck in my mind that I dwell on from time to time. Most, well actually, all of them are regrets that make me go “Why the hell did I do that?” And, of course, I can’t change the past, so I have to be content with just letting them haunt me.

The funny thing is, for the most part, some of these events are actually pretty minor in the big course of things. Were they life-altering events that changed the course of my life? Well… no. Were they huge events that affected many people? Uh… again, no. So, why the hell do I even remember them? Why the hell do I have so much regret over them?

The appropriate answer here is: I don’t know. My only guess is that these memories were stored in the part of my brain that is like the corner display in a department store. You know the ones where they show off the hot new merchandise or an enticing sale item. So, every time my thoughts pass by this spot, I can’t help but stop and notice the memory that was stored there and then I dwell on it all over again.

So, here they are. I call them the ‘moments I regret’. I thought if I write them down, maybe then I can remove them from the display case and throw them out with the rest of the garbage.

 

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Is This Who I Am Supposed To Be?

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You know what I hate?

I hate that this is who I am supposed to be.

I hate where I ended up in life. I hate that every day I wake up with regret and sorrow with who and what I have become. I played it too safe growing up. I never took chances. I was too afraid. I never pushed myself. I never tried new things. I never allowed myself to fail. And with that I also never allowed myself to succeed. When something came up, I let it go by. I can’t do that, I would tell myself. I don’t have the talent for that. Everyone would think that idea is dumb. They would laugh at me. So I stayed on the sidelined. I figured eventually things would fall into place. I figured like in the movies something would happen and all the pieces would fit together and I would wake up one day and be right with the world. But by the time I realized that real life wasn’t like that, it was too late. By the time I realized what I should have done differently, too much time had passed. I can’t go back and make those decisions over now. I missed the bus. I took the wrong road. I should have been smarter. I read somewhere that failure is not the opposite of success, failure is a part of success. I wish I would have known that then. But I didn’t and now I live a life of regret. That’s the worst pain of all. To know that had I had a second chance I could be someone different. But I’m too hard on myself. I only knew what I knew. Had I the chance to go back I would made all the same mistakes over again. How can I do any differently? That means I was meant to be exactly who and where I am. I was meant to be full of regret and sorrow. This is apparently who I am supposed to be. And that’s what I hate.

 

Hope is an evil villain

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You know what I hate?

I hate hope! Seriously. I hate thinking that someday something will happen that will make my whole life worthwhile. For some reason I think my life is a movie and all the mistakes and stupid things I’ve done will pay off with some amazing happy ending. That’ll be when I realize that my life through hell was the right path all along because if I had not gone through that, I would have gotten to this moment where everything finally makes sense.

Case in point. I ran into this girl the other day at work, we’ll call her Brooke. I first met her about a month ago at an internal event. I was running a demo table and she and her friend came up and chatted with me about what our team was doing, I was surprised at how genuinely interested she was in what I had to say. We had a great conversation. It lasted only a few minutes but it was the highlight of my day.

Anyway, I ran into Brooke the other day. She again seemed super excited to see me. And again she seemed totally engaged with me. You know how it is – deep eye contact, open body language, big smiles. Now I don’t know anything about this girl, but I swear she was attracted to me. After a few minutes, she said she had to go but asked if we could get together sometime and talk further. Wait. What? A girl is asking me to get together? This never happens and I mean NEVER. See previous post called “Can I Break The Cycle”

I said okay and walked away on cloud nine. Wow! Here was an amazing, attractive, intelligent, passionate girl that maybe, just maybe is interested in me? Nah, couldn’t be. Seriously couldn’t be. I’m a fuck. Like I said before, girls don’t fall for me. Besides, she seems kinda young. But on the other hand, who cares. I’m mean what if she is interested? Who knows. Maybe she could even be ‘the one’, right? And if my life had not been shit up to this point, I never would have met her. You see? You just have to have a little hope.

Yeah, right.

So I found out she’s an intern here only for the summer and she’s going back to College on the other side of the country in August. Hell, she’s not even old enough to drink yet. I also found out she’s meeting with lots of people. She’s trying to learn as much as she can while she is here so she is setting up meetings with everyone and anyone. She is not attracted to me. I’m not special. Clearly I misinterpreted her enthusiasm. Or maybe I am so damn desperate for attention that I clamped onto the first person that showed any interest.

Damn It! Damn it! Damn It!

So here I was riding high for a whole day, dreaming about what could-have-been. And now I’m crashing and burning. You’d think I’d learn by now. Yes, hope can be a great thing. With hope you can find that happy path to peace. But the crappy thing about hope is that it’s not real. And when reality smacks you in the face and once again that familiar feeling of failure settles in, it would have been better not to have hope in the first place. God, how stupid was I to think that something might happen. My life is not a movie. There is no happy ending and I hate my constant thinking that there may be.

Next day, sure enough, another girl smiles at me as she walks by and I say hi.

 

Damn it! That’s why I hate hope.

Killing The Moment

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You know what I hate?

I hate when I make a comment that I swear is funny or clever and people look at me like I’m the idiot. Why are you all staring at me? That was funny! It was! Wasn’t it? Is my sense of humor so screwed up that no one else thinks what I think is funny is funny? Does everyone think I’m an idiot? This is why it is so hard to be involved. I try to participate. I sit in the group. I pay attention. I listen to the banter and wait for the perfect opportunity to jump in. It’s hard. I would much rather be alone and not interact with people at all. But that’s not possible, so here I am in the thick of it trying to be social and a normal human being. And finally when the opportunity presents itself, I take my shot. I build up my nerve and say a comment that I think is funny and maybe a little bit clever, but then everyone stares at me like I just screamed cancer into the crowd. I don’t understand. What did I say that was so wrong? Everyone else is being funny and silly and saying weird things, but when I do it, I kill the moment and look like a total fool. Then, once again I feel like the outsider. Why do I even try to belong? Everyone knows I’m a misfit. Can we all just agree that I’m the invisible loser. You can ignore me and I’ll stop trying to fit in and we’ll all be a lot happier, won’t we?

My Glass-Half-Empty Brain

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You know what I hate?

I hate that I am not a positive person. Seriously. I try to be a positive, but my gut reaction is always negative. It’s like negativity is ingrained in my DNA. I am a glass-half-empty guy. When something bad happens, I can’t see it as an opportunity, instead it again reminds me of how unlucky and pathetic my life is. I interpret life as a bad thing even though I know it is just life being life.

Like my previous post, when I’m driving down the road and the light turns yellow forcing me to stop, I feel it’s the universe being mean to me .When I pick a line at the grocery store and it ALWAYS ends up being the slowest line, I blame myself for picking the wrong line. Or how is it now that McDonalds has two drive-through lanes. I try to pick the one I think is faster, but I inevitably get behind the exact same soccer Mom ordering for the whole team while car after car whizzes by in the other lane. It has to be my fault

I understand that other people have the same problems and somehow it doesn’t affect them. I know it’s just life being life but I can’t help it. I see every mistake and every wrong decision as a reflection of the pathetic worthless piece of crap I am.  I know it should not affect me but that’s my point. They do because I am not a positive person. I clearly have this amazing talent of internalizing all the bad things in the universe and taking the blame for it.

Is easy to say it’s not my fault or it’s just life, but I tell myself that had I been smarter or better I would have made a different decisions, so it has to be my fault. And the fact that I know this is all crazy talk and still I believe it anyway is another thing that I hate myself for. Yep. No one’s fault but mine. So cheer’s to me and glass-half-empty brain.