Thirteen years ago, I had a conversation online with (who I thought was) a good friend. It went something like this:
Her: no. seriously. u shuld become a pc programmer
Me: I can't see myself doing that. I'm not good with computers.
Her: learn. u set ur hours & work from home. it will work
Me: I can barely update my computer without help. I loathe technical stuff.
Her: tough. Jen, ur never gonna do anything else. ur writing is cute but not practical
Me: I know I won't become famous, especially as a poet.
Her: right. u have no options other than a programmer
Me: Programming isn't an option, either.
Her: yes it is. don't u want to do something useful? be someone useful?
Me: Sure, but...
Her: then get off ur butt & be a good member of society
Me: I'd need schooling and everything.
Her: teach urself. u're smart. do you want to be a drain ur entire life? like now?
And it got better from there. I ended our friendship that night. She and I were so close, I called her "auntie". Few people are literally worthless, even without jobs. She let me know in those twenty minutes how she really saw me.
Sometimes though, I replay our last conversation. Maybe, if I would have tried it, I'd be able to open my own organisation for disabled people, buy a house, travel... all the things I long for and will never have. I haven't been out of my county in over a decade. I haven't travelled more than four hours away from home in my whole life. I look at houses and wish for one of my own, then berate myself for not being grateful for my accessible, affordable apartment.
Maybe, if I would have listened, I would be somebody by now. Instead, I'm this insignificant poet who rarely leaves home more than once a week due to finances and chronic pain. I'm a taker in more ways than I want to be.
But, my life could be different in other ways, too. I might have failed. Might have been miserable doing a job I despise. I may have missed the wonderful night I met my husband because I was too busy to log-on. I could have made enough money to get my medical insurance taken away, but not enough to afford it myself (which is death). Not every what-if is a regret.
I'm in the process of trying to figure out what my "next step" is with my life. I haven't had a major change (for the better, anyway) in almost a decade. So far, I can think of nothing that requires the amount of time, money, and spoons I possess. I am starting to think there's nothing else I can do that doesn't take a miracle. But, I'll wait. Maybe the opportunity just hasn't shown itself. I just have to keep hope. It's just so damn hard to when I don't even have a clue.
I don't like not knowing what's next, and for me "next" is probably three-four years in the future. Perhaps that's because I had a plan that went smoothly for so long, before pursuing grad school. My only plan now is to keep taking the opportunities that arise. I know it can be hard to wait (even though I don't think I've ever had to wait as long as you have), but you're right: we can't give up hope.ReplyDelete
Opportunities I can take advantage of hardly come around. I feel like I'm waiting for a bus in the middle of a vast wasteland. I hope it will come (and it might), but it's doubtful.Delete
I try to fill life with all the good I can manage in case I have to figure things out without an outside chance coming my way.
I hope everything is well with you!
"Not every 'what-if' is a regret." Well said! Sure, your life might have taken a different path, but you'd have missed good things as well as tough ones because of those changes. I'm glad you see the value in where you are now.ReplyDelete
When everyone talks about "what might have been", they only mean the good stuff sliding through their hands. They don't understand what they managed to cling to is a casualty in the daydreams of another life... the gain and loss of different things.Delete
How is the new book coming?