Thursday, September 29, 2005

What I Want: Part 3

This is a hard one, so it must stand alone. I don't know if I've ever said this to anyone before--I've hinted at it, but never really said it directly. It will all make sense after part 4--I promise.

Once Upon a Time,

I didn't go to Princeton.

My college years can be summed up in that sentence. Every sick, disturbing, and sad thing that happened, the paralysis that was my life for four years, can be boiled down into 5-words.

I don't know why I did it, or rather, didn't do it.

I don't know.

Post hoc analysis (nerd-speak for hindsight) has revealed to me that I spent 4, expensive years at SmallLiberal Arts College filled with obnoxious young republicans wanting to seem liberal in the middle of BFE learning a very valuable, critical lesson.

Regret is a bitch. It will numb you and paralyze you and make you hate things that you normally would embrace. It clouds your judgement and sucks away your life, wasting precious years of the limited time we all spend on this planet. It turns you into someone else, who you eventually begin to identify as yourself...only it isn't really you...or is it?

I don't know why I didn't go. I do, but I don't. It was money (funny how it's back again). It was fear of being outed for the sub-genius that I am. It was the overwhelming feeling that I had to be close to my family to help them through those dark days--I guess that was really guilt for abadoning them as a teenager. It's funny, but I never really went home during those years because I was, of course, paralyzed.

I learned that if you make a decision to do something because you perceive obstacles or failures or fears standing in the way of what you truly want, you will live with regret and the demons that follow. It almost killed me--I almost never came to be your blogger friend.

I learned that, instead of doing what "seems" right, you need to examine the obstacles and fears and find solutions so that you can travel the road less traveled, the road you want.

I learned you had better be really honest with yourself about what you truly want.

I learned that something as stupid as picking one really good school over one superb school could become a feed-forward loop, eventually turning into something that is too large for one person to handle without cracking.

I learned...


At 6:44 PM, Blogger 21st Century Mom said...

Whoa Nelly! I will hardly be able to sleep until I read part 4. I can't imagine how your choice of undergraduate school could have had such a profound effect on your life so you will have to tell me.

Excellent description of the toxicity of regret. I have done a lot of regrettable things in my life but I do my best to let it go because bludgeoning myself with those realities does me no good. The only thing you can do it take note and try to do better in the future.

At 9:16 PM, Blogger Edie said...

Oh, but why does it have to hurt so much? If I were to unravel all my socio-economically driven 'decisions' in life, I would cry from resentment of my parents, estranged husband, lovely children, beauty, talent, and most of all, ambition. I hope this narrative is happily flawed like a perfectly imperfect nose, with a little upturn at the end.

At 8:29 AM, Blogger she falters to rise said...

It gets very happy--I promise.

Like everything in life, it goes down before it comes back up;)

At 10:17 AM, Blogger muse said...

"instead of doing what "seems" right, you need to examine the obstacles and fears and find solutions so that you can travel the road less traveled, the road you want"

So true! It's scary, believing in yourself enough to do what's right for you, even if that's not what others would have you do, and doing whatever is needed to get there, but in the long run it's much, much better.

At 1:03 PM, Blogger sue said...

Well put. Thank you (again) for sharing...

At 4:34 PM, Blogger BotanicalGirl said...

Thanks for sharing this. At 24 I'm still trying to learn how to do what I want, and not what I think will be easiest, or what will make other people happy. It's a hard habit to unlearn, making choices for the wrong reasons.

Thank God I wound up going to my first choice for grad school (right now) instead of settling for another, despite the 3000 plane ride from home.

At 9:41 PM, Blogger academic coach said...

Please - let's keep in mind that Princeton is a metaphor. Yes, you should 'go for it,' take risks, and think that you deserve the best for yourself. But the actual school and student body is not worth this level of regret. Talk about obnoxious, young republicans (according to the alumni and professors I've worked with....)

At 10:27 AM, Blogger she falters to rise said...

Academic coach is definitely correct--Princeton is a metaphor. Looking back on things now--I would not have chosen to go to Princeton or the college that I ended up going will all make sense (hopefully) as I go on...

At 2:11 PM, Blogger trisha said...

I wish I had been on Prozac in college, or that I didn't go to a school that Playboy rated in the Top Ten Schools Having the Best-Looking Women.

'Course, I was already cracked by mattered little.

At 12:09 AM, Blogger Psycho Kitty said...

Favorite quote: "Remorse is the poison of life."
I'm sorry you had to take that poison. It sucks. But if you can come through on the other side...

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