Old Flames

I had a thought today.

I’ve been working on my first novel, which is based roughly on my past. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, sometimes it’s hard to put myself back into the head space of where I was at that time because it was so hard for me then. Every time I write I feel like I’m dragging my soul back through the trenches and putting my mind back in that dark place. So, as you can imagine, I’ve been thinking a lot about my old flames, and especially one in particular who has a starring role in my novel.

Stirring up all these feelings again has been really tiring, but I want to be as accurate with my writing as I can and the only way I know how to do that is by putting myself back where I was. So, in the name of *cough* accuracy, I’ve been doing my fair share of cyber stalking.

I use the term ‘stalking’ loosely because I am in no way on bad terms with this person and we follow each other on social media anyway. And I’m not going to lie, it’s hard seeing him living his life. He’s doing exactly what I always imagined him to be doing, touring the world by himself, camping out wherever he can, and making human connections. It’s amazing. I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to be with him on that journey.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I love my husband like crazy and I would never leave him even if an opportunity presented itself. And I know in my heart that I’m a city girl through and through and the novelty of sleeping in shacks with bugs and strangers in a place where I don’t speak the language would fizzle out pretty quickly for me. But still, I wonder.

I wonder if he’s happy. I wonder what I would be like if we had stayed together. I wonder if we could have been happy if things had been different. I saw a post he put on Instagram about saying goodbye to a woman who I presume had been his girlfriend in one of the countries he was in. I wondered if the things he wrote about her were ever things he thought about me.

But then I had that thought I mentioned earlier. The only people we ever wonder about are the people who we never got a “proper” chance with. People who we feel like our time with was cut short. They’re the people who broke up with or rejected us, not the other way around.

I thought back to some of my other exes, people who I had done the breaking up with. With them, I felt like the relationship had run its course and the was nothing left to explore. It wasn’t going to work, so I moved on. And it got me to thinking… how many of those guys thought about me the way I’ve been wondering about my old flame? How many of them feel like the relationship was cut short and they never really got a chance with me? We don’t think these things about people we ended it with.

So I realized, no, he probably never had those thoughts about me. To him, there was no future with us and there was no point in continuing things. He moved on while I struggled.

I feel like what keeps us thinking about people from our past is that nagging voice in our head saying that maybe they miss me, too. But when you really step back and think about it, no, they probably don’t. You can’t waste your time wondering.

I had already made my peace with this old flame, and again, I’m happily married now and wouldn’t have it any other way. But writing this book and revisiting these feelings, as of today, has finally given me a proper sense of closure. If we would have been happy, he wouldn’t have left. And that’s it.

Sometimes going to that dark place can bring you some light.

Never stop moving forward.

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Regret and “Wasted” Time

I’m pretty sure it’s totally normal for people to have regrets. Although, I wouldn’t really know because I don’t have any.

No one does anything other than what they want, whether it’s related to a short term or long term goal. Anytime a person is presented with a situation, they weigh all possible options (even if it’s only subconsciously) and then take action. How can you regret something when it was your choice to make? Every choice that you’ve made was based on the information and knowledge that you had about the world at that time. You did your best. Now move on.

I believe that everything on this planet is connected and everything happens for a reason. Maybe you regret leaving that party early because your friend got really drunk and made her own bad decision. You can’t regret leaving early because I truly believe that it had to happen that way. If you feel badly, change that into positive energy in the form of a lesson learned. Next time you’ll know not to leave a friend. You couldn’t have possibly known something bad was going to happen and you can’t blame yourself for making the best decision you could based on the information you had at that time. Now that you’ve experienced a situation of that nature, you’ve learned something new you can now apply to a future situation.

If you made a choice and now you regret it, like taking a certain subject in school, then change! I’ve heard far too many people in my life say that it’s “too late” to change majors or that they’re “too old” to start learning gymnastics. Screw that! If you decide that you want to study a whole new field after you graduate, then do it! If you wish you’d taken gymnastics as a kid, find an adult beginners class! There is no such thing as “too late”.

There is also no such thing as wasted time. If you “wasted” time in school on a major you hated, now you’ve learned a very valuable lesson because of it and one can hardly call a life lesson a “waste” of time. If you were in a marriage that ended badly, those were not wasted years. You must have loved each other at some point, and just because it ended badly doesn’t mean the whole experience was bad. There must have been good days too. You can’t let those be tainted by a negative outlook on the person now. You had fun once. Just because a marriage only lasted 10 years doesn’t mean that those ten years were wasted. They were part of your life journey and lesson that you needed to learn.

I think we all need to learn to leave our regrets behind and start fresh with a useful new life lesson in hand. What do you regret?

xo

Being naive is not a bad thing.

Throughout my life, people have often described me as being naive. If someone decided to make up a silly story to tell me and I believed it, they would laugh that I was so gullible. I used to be ashamed when someone tricked me into believing them. But here’s the thing: being naive is not a bad trait.

Think about it. Why did I believe you in the first place? The only answers (probably) should be because a) you’re an authority figure or b) I trust you. If you’re an authority figure and you lie to someone who believes you anyway, then you’re an asshole. But if I trust you enough to buy into your ridiculous story and it turns out you were lying for fun, who’s the real loser here? Not only do I end up embarrassed, but you show your true face to the world.

Being a trusting person may not be the safest way to live your life, but it’s genuine. Of course, with time, everyone should learn who deserves immediate trust and who doesn’t. But when you’re dealing with a friend or family member, you shouldn’t have to screen their information. If you swear to me you saw an alien in your back yard I will testify in court on your behalf that it happened. I don’t think that makes me anything other than a true friend.

I once had a friend call me to tell me about how he failed his driver’s test and how annoyed and upset he was because of it. I patiently listened and offered my sympathy and then the next time I saw him he laughed and said he made it up. He had passed and gotten his license. He laughed like it was so funny that I believed him. That same friend came out to me a couple years later and asked how I never realized he was gay all those years. I said, “Well, I asked you point blank if you were gay and you swore to me you weren’t. You’re one of my best friends so I believed you on your word. Fuck me, right?” He was speechless for a second and then thanked me and apologized. I didn’t think it was fair that was the one to be made to feel stupid. Trusting people isn’t (always) stupid.

It’s a good thing to trust people automatically because the only person who would readily assume a person is lying is someone who lies. A person who can’t even imagine someone lying for no reason is a person who has never lied for no reason. It just doesn’t occur to them. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Don’t let people tell you you’re weak because you trust. It may be a vulnerable way to live, but continue to live your life with an open heart and know that those who are closed off are the ones suffering, not you. You do you.