forgive, forget, find out

today’s blog prompt is “something you have to forgive yourself for.”

oh, i don’t have time to even try to pick one. i don’t know. do i have to tell a story if i do?

not finishing college.
being horrible with my money.
not exercising.
gaining a bunch of weight.
not being a good aunt.
not being the best mom to flan that i could be.
not being the best daughter and sister that i could be.
making bad relationship decisions. over and over again.
never really following through on anything.
never really having a career.
only applying to one college.
never pursuing my dreams.

i think that’s about it for now. i don’t tell you these things to be validated. i say them because they are the things that linger, that haunt me, that make me wish i could get a do-over. that make me wonder what if? what then? i know that’s wasted time and keeps me from the sunlight of the spirit, so i try not to live in the past. but there are those times when i am struck with a pang that cuts me to the quick.

i guess i’ll tell a story about this a little. when i went to NYC for the first time ever this summer, i had one. i came for a conference, and i went early and stayed late so i could take in as much of the city as i could. after everyone else had gone home, i found myself able to wander around the city by myself a bit. i went to take a tour of the general service office of alcoholics anonymous, which is quite a bit north and right on the west side of manhattan on the hudson.

when i came up out of the subway, i was right smack dab in the middle of columbia university and barnard. the students were just beginning classes and there was that whole new student/parent/registration/introduction buzz in the air. i just looked around me and was filled with the headiness of the trees and the college and the smell of the river. it was beautiful. it was ivy league.

i was also simultaneously filled with sadness and regret. this was the college life i had always longed for. when i imagined going away, when i knew that i’d live in a big city (i.e. new york city), this was exactly what i had in mind. when i’d tell my grandpa that i’d go to harvard and be a lawyer, this was certainly the kind of atmosphere i had envisioned.

yet, even with a near 4.0 gpa and participation in newspaper and forensics; with classes in AP english and history, i couldn’t find the means to fill out college applications. was it because i didn’t want to ask my parents for the application fees? was it because i just couldn’t get around to writing all those essays? was it because i had a subconscious fear of failure? of success? was it because …. i don’t know.

i went to a college fair and i met people from north central college in naperville and i heard that i could be on the air at their radio station after a couple of weeks. i toured the campus and it was small and inviting. i met people i liked, i decided i wanted to go there. i got a scholarship, this seemed right.

and i suppose it was. i met people i still know and love today. i don’t know if i would have fared well at a big school. i had my first major depression when i was 18, and ended up dropping out/getting kicked out of school after sophomore year. by the end of my 20th year, i was finding drugs and alcohol and headed into a fine relationship with them that was to last about 8 years.

but i can’t lie. there’s always going to be a part of me that wonders … what if? what then? what if i had actually applied to northwestern’s medill school of journalism? what if i had made a run at the university of chicago? what if i had applied to some ivy league colleges? to columbia? to harvard? what might have happened then? maybe nothing different. maybe i would have just ended up depressed and emotionally bankrupt hours away from my home.

but maybe not. it’s pointless to live in the past, but it’s something i need to forgive myself for. for not taking a chance. for not having the wherewithal to complete applications. to even branch out to bradley or cornell or duke or drake or carthage or madison. god, i probably would have *died* at madison.

it’s all something i need to work on, but that’s the question for today, and that’s where it led. take it or leave it, i suppose. you can forgive me later.

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2 thoughts on “forgive, forget, find out

  1. Boy the old “what could have been?”. That’s all wasted energy, but you know that. We all have these stories. I could be rich ten times over if I listened to people about investments years ago. The old “if only if only”, gets you nowhere. Also things are the way they are for a reason. My wife says I could never be rich because I would have too much guilt about the poor and end up either with severe mental problems no money or both. Other thing was I always wanted to be MR. CSI tracking down serial killers. Again wifey says I would just become too obsessed and up in the looney bin. So maybe I couldn’t handle these things and someone or something knows that.

  2. Wow. Try not to worry about what you dont have. You have an increidble story. Lots of successful people quit college. And you dont need the ivy league to be success. I dropped out of medill school of journalism for grad school and I consider myself a writer and photographer.

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