This I Believe

John - Fairport, New York
Entered on April 16, 2007

I believe that I have no more time in my life for regret. I am sure this belief must seem pretty trite. Anyone older than me seems to have the license and obligation to tell me “don’t let life pass you by” and I’m sure you’ve heard it before too, but that isn’t really what I’m talking about. Letting life pass me by is fine with me. But I refuse to look back on it and wish I’d done it differently.

Let me explain: I am, and have been for some time, a complete and utter loser. In my eighteen years, I have never held a job, nor have I had a girlfriend. I was ravenously unpopular in high school, and still constantly struggle in social situations. Never in any clubs or sports. Going to school filled me with hatred and fear. Overall, I’ve spent the last six years of my life dreaming up ways to end it. See, by all assessments, a dud.

But none of these non-achievements hurt me. Only wishing they didn’t exist had. The constant pouring over of alternate routes I could have taken, rehearsing what I should have said in the right place at the right time, was a never-ending source of self torture.

And then I was confined to a mental health ward as a suicide risk. It gave me a lot of time to think things out, and let the Zoloft work its magic. And, as the scales feel from my eyes, I realized that I wasn’t stuck in a rut. I’d sought help, was trying to change, was taking control. Regret, or anything else, was not going to change what I’d failed to do in the past. It could only cripple me in the future.

You see, regret isn’t really something I can learn from, a tool I can use to act more wisely in the future. Instead, it convinced me that I was, am, and will be pathetic; frozen in time as an also-ran. Why then, should I even try? Every potential employer will reject me for my lack of experience, as will every girl, every person I try to have a conversation with. I’d missed the starting gun, it told me, and there was no way to catch up now.

Wrong. Incorrect. Untrue. The past is not through with me, but it cannot control me, unless I let it. So I got out, and now I apply to just about every job I can. No luck there. Yet. I ask out any girl I find attractive. Well, again, nothing. I try to put awkwardness behind me, and talk to everyone I meet as if I’ve always known them. That one’s kind of hard to measure. But every time I try and fail I believe, I know that I will not regret doing it.