I write this on a Saturday morning. Up early because, as usual, even though C took him out at midnight, Finnegan was up and at ’em at 7am. I took him out, fed him breakfast, and he’s now sound asleep on the couch. I, on the other hand, am drinking some delicious coffee I bought yesterday at The Honest Weight Food Co-Op: specifically, locally roasted Liquid Assets Indo Noir. My favorite is still the coffee sold and served at Fuel, but this is definitely up there and I am enjoying each drop. (I’m biased – C’s cousin owns Fuel, and as a result I’ve acquired multiple bags of tasty coffee from her. But, if you’re ever in New Haven and you love coffee, you should stop in there, because it’s really really good.)
Today I’m in the mood to bear my soul a bit. Years ago, I had a LiveJournal. Remember LiveJournal? I know many of you who read know me BECAUSE of that site, and writing there really had a major impact on my most formative years. At one point, I was writing every day – sometimes more than once – and it was likely one of the major things that affected my writing. Writers will tell you that – if you want to be a better writer, write every day, about anything at all. And I did, write, about anything and everything. The whole thing is locked down now, and no, you can’t go read it. I wrote a couple of cathartic posts shortly after getting engaged, but hadn’t touched the thing for months. I finally decided, I was only using the damned thing to b*tch about this or that once every few months, and it had lost a meaningful place for me. I locked it down entirely and deleted all of my “friends,” (many of whom I still keep in touch with via Facebook, Twitter, etc., and I know also many of you read me here – to that, I wave and smile). I still haven’t had the heart to delete it. It is a chronicle of my life throughout my 20s, spanning nearly a decade, and it is not something I want to purge.
I cannot and will not get as personal on this blog as I did on my LiveJournal, for obvious reasons. But, one of the things I miss most about LJ is the cathartic nature of it. Sometimes, just writing something down, seeing it in print, and knowing others can see it and may possibly relate, makes me feel better, makes things feel right. And, that’s why, I don’t regret anything about my years on LJ.
Even so, regret is a funny thing. It’s very easy to say that you want to live a life with no regrets, and yet it’s quite difficult to do this. I tend to torture myself with what-ifs: from the most trivial to the meatier stuff. And, what’s worse is, I’m not sure why I do it.
I had a heart-to-heart with C a couple weeks ago about this, and I ended with, “I’m not even sure why I get like this, because I am not unhappy with how my life turned out.” And that’s the truth – I am successful in my job and I like it (on most days), I have an advanced degree in a subject that interests me, I have a husband that I adore who also seems to think I’m pretty nifty, too, and I live in a city that, for all it’s imperfections, feels more like home than anywhere else in the world.
And, yet, sometimes, when my mind has time to wander, I recaculate what my GPA would have been if I had elected to take different classes.
Um, yes, I know, that’s a level of crazy that you cannot make up.
So, how, exactly, would my life been better if I had a 3.6 GPA instead of the 3.55 I actually had? The only tangible difference I can see is that I would be able to write on my resume, “Magna Cum Laude” instead of “Cum Laude.” Yeah. Because clearly that would have made an enormous difference in my life.
There are other things, obviously, that would have made an enormous difference – if I had studied abroad, if I had decided to do Americorps, if I had transferred, if I had graduated early, if I had gone to graduate school straight from undergrad … etc. It doesn’t mean that my life would be better, but it certainly would be different.
And, actually, what’s funny about the whole thing is I don’t want my life RIGHT NOW to be different, which would obviously be a side effect of a different life path. Maybe that’s why I focus on the mind-numbingly stupid GPA: because that wouldn’t change my life today.
I’m very very hard on myself. I’m a perfectionist, and I don’t like getting things wrong. I used to hate admitting I was wrong, when I was younger, but I’ve gotten a lot better about it. In fact, it’s almost to the other extreme, where I will beat myself up for making an unwise decision. I’ll dwell on it for weeks, months, years, and play out in my head the 25 different scenarios as to how I could have made it play out. Even if the outcome wouldn’t change anything (such as, for example, the GPA … I mean, I had two Cs in college because I chose electives poorly, and those were totally part of the problem); or, even more ridiculous, when I am actually not terribly upset about the ends that the means achieved. I just wish I had used different means.
Huh. Now I think about it, when I think about ends I may have wanted to work out differently, I rarely give those paths a second thought. Maybe it’s because I’ve been able to make peace with those because the ends were penance in themselves? But that doesn’t really make sense, either.
Writing this down, working this through, I already feel better.