Tuesday, May 13, 2014

9 Years Later, or Life Finds a Way

I went on a re-set password quest this morning that led me down the black hole of the email account I used while I was in college. I haven't logged in to check email there for about 5 years, so I've mostly forgotten about any content it held.

Ugh, that was awkward.

And then, it went from awkward to, I don't know... more awkward? I had 3 drafts in the Draft folder, and one of them was this, written on 8/20/2004, eight days before I started my sophomore year of college/first year at George Mason University:

"anyway, i can't write much because i've gotta formally withdraw from my school in NY, take a shower, call out from work, return my sister's shoes, and get drunk. it's going to be a good day."

Ever have one of those moments where you were like "ohhhhhh, so there's where it all went wrong." That's what went through my head. Except mine was like, "ohhhhhh, so there's EXACTLY where it all went wrong."

I don't know what was going through my head that summer. But I can pin-point exactly where I was that day: sitting in my parent's den in that haunted 1800's farm house they rented, my mind going 500 miles an hour, but going exactly nowhere. After I sent that message, I emailed the registrar at Adelphi University and withdrew. I rejected my scholarship and my entrance to the Honor's College and my spot on the Newspaper and my close proximity to NYC and the opportunities that could have come with it so that I could date a guy from high school. I withdrew, called out of work, returned the shoes, got day drunk, saw Without a Paddle and ended up making out with Chris at Denny's as a waitress brought me my Super-T sandwich.

That day marks the beginning of 9 years where I just didn't know what the fuck I was doing. 9 years of making questionable decisions, of spending too much money, of going to work hungover, of skipping class and missing deadlines and wasting good opportunities. 9 years of livejournaling and myspacing and facebooking. 9 years of bitching and moaning instead of pursuing my dreams. 9 years of just hating myself into a corner until I didn't want to do anything but watch movies and shut down. 9 years of just letting things happen to me.

When I read that email, I thought, Oh my god. That's it. That's where it all went wrong. And I thought, as I always do, about what would have happened on the afternoon that I got my acceptance letter from GMU. If I'd taken Chris' luke warm reaction of "oh, cool." as the red flag that it was and just said No, I'm going back to New York. Where would I be now? What would I be doing? Who would I be?  

I always thought that my 20's would be the end all be all of my existence, and that I ruined everything by not staying near the city of my dreams. I spent a lot of time beating myself up about things I couldn't change. That doesn't happen anymore. I look back now and I see all those lost, wasted years were absolutely worth it--not a burden. It was 9 years of life-bonding with the people who'd become my nearest and dearest. 9 years of unexpected travel opportunities. 9 years of meeting some of the greatest people to walk this planet. 9 years of getting to shake hands or share hugs with some of my idols. 9 years of really getting to know my family and where all this comes from.

Bless you, hindsight. And Bless you, luck. Because right now, because of all those decisions, after that day in my parent's den, I'm damn-near exactly where I want to be. And I look forward, knowing that the best is yet to come.

So, thank you, woman-child of my 20's. You were such a Hot Mess, but you followed your nervous, sad brain instincts through the bad parts of town, and you got me to an exceptionally rad place.

go 'head 20 year old.

Also, Younger Self, stop calling yourself fat. 10 years and 12 inches later you'll wonder how you ever could have considered 31 inch hips to be "fat." Youth and metabolism are wasted on the young.

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