I am by no means “old”. I haven’t even hit 30 yet. But, I am old enough to know that when I look back on some of the choices I made, I wish I could do them over.
The picture says it all. It’s not that I necessarily “regret” some of the things I did in my teens/early 20s, I just wish I had taken more chances, stepped outside the box, and hadn’t acted like I knew what the hell I was doing. Regret is such a harsh word, and I did have a lot of happy times when I was younger, but mixed in with the happy are so many things that should (not could) have been done differently.
I’ll make a list:
1.) Deciding at age 14 that I had found “the one”.
Who does that? Well, I guess a lot of stupid kids think they know everything and know better than their parents, who have actually LIVED through crap like that. I met my first boyfriend when I was 14 and decided he’d be the one forever and always. Granted, we did stick it out for 10 years…but we can talk about that later. My parents tried telling me over and over, “Dusty, you’re a kid. You’re in high school. Have fun and don’t tie yourself to someone who doesn’t even live in the same town as you!” and I said, “But I love him!” and I did, but, I know when I look back on it, a lot of my motivation was setting out to prove them wrong. I wanted to defy the odds and show them it was possible to find your soul mate at age 14 and live happily ever after.
2.) Deciding to move out at 18 & live with my boyfriend, his mom, and his 2 little sisters
At this point, the wonderful relationship I had with my dad was ruined. He had forbade me to ever talk to or see my boyfriend again, I did anyway, he found out (a couple of times), trust was broken, resentment was formed, etc. By the time I was 18 I wanted out and away from parental rules. I wanted to do what I wanted to do, and I did. I still went to college, but I commuted and lived in my boyfriend’s house with his mom and 2 younger sisters. I immediately became homesick and tried to visit my parents as often as possible, sometimes even spending entire weekends there. That caused resentment in my boyfriend who wanted me to be home with him. When I look back on this, I wish so strongly that I would have just gone to college and lived on campus like a “normal” person does. I’d probably be sitting here with a 4 year degree (or more) instead of a 2 year degree that took me 7 years to get. I wish I would have been young, not acted like I was married when I wasn’t, gone to parties, hung out with people and made friends, etc. I had been accepted to several colleges that offered me scholarships, but I didn’t accept them. Instead I went to a school that didn’t offer me anything because I had to go to the same school my boyfriend went to and also because he threw a fit when I suggested I may want to go the other route. I was young and dumb enough to be persuaded, even though deep down I knew it wasn’t in my best interest.
3.) Deciding to go along with and stay with someone who constantly held me back
When I say this, I am not saying it because I think my first boyfriend is a bad person. He isn’t. He was good to me during our 10 years together. Along with the good, there is always not so good (or even bad). He brought out my ugliest side, a side that Derek has yet to see. He made me feel like I shouldn’t like or enjoy the things I genuinely liked and enjoyed. I repressed A LOT when we were together. I dressed, acted and even dyed my hair a certain way because I knew he liked it that way. I did things for myself, but there was always a part of me that would second guess things or go in a direction I knew he would approve of more. I wouldn’t listen to certain music because he would make fun of it or make me feel silly for liking it. I scarcely spoke of my interest in Paganism because he had mentioned on several occasions when I had the courage to bring it up, that it was “stupid” and that I was “buying into it”. We were around 22 when we moved out on our own. I’d want to hang out with friends, drink, play games, do things, BE YOUNG. He’d constantly make me feel like I was some wild party girl who had “changed”. He’d talk about how sweet I once was and that I was different. I felt like anything that I liked that wasn’t the same as it had been when we were young teens, was bad. I didn’t talk about a lot of these feelings I had brewing inside of me. Resentment, frustration, even regret. Like I said, he was a good boyfriend, but once I decided to let go and break up, I felt immense relief that I had finally broken free from someone who really was very controlling. He didn’t think he was (who would?), but he was. He may not be now, but he was then. He was with me.
So, I guess I feel like the things I did for all those years are things that have really molded me into who I am today: what I stand for, my beliefs in what is right and wrong, etc. They are things that have made me realize all the chances and opportunities I allowed myself to miss out on when I should have been living life for ME. I had no kids, I wasn’t married. There was no reason for me to allow him to let me feel guilty for a lot of things that I wanted to do, but I let him. I am not that person now. I am naturally a “people pleaser”, but I am now an adult who has learned from her mistakes. I know the difference between doing things for people because it makes me feel good about myself and happy that I’ve done them, and doing things because I feel forced to.
As a mother of two little girls, I plan on answering every question they may have someday completely and fully. I will tell them the things I have done and the things I wish I had done, and I’ll tell them out of passion and love. I don’t want to see them go down the road I went down. Some of the choices I made were very, VERY immature and stupid.
My life is very happy now. Derek’s personality and mine mesh so well together and I never feel held back with him. He understands that people change and evolve, and those differences are what makes us who we are.
I can definitely say that although I do wish I made a lot of different choices in the past, I am very grateful that my first boyfriend helped sculpt me into the person I am today. A person who is strong, unique, doesn’t care what others think of her and her interests (as much), and knows not to allow anything to hold her back from happiness.