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.