Regret. It is such a heavy word. I am definitely one of those people who spent most of their life “living without regret.” But was I having fun? Was I fulfilled? Was I even happy? I sure thought I was at the time. Do I regret anything. Yes, I do.
From a teenager on, I developed a very tough skin, a sassy attitude, and huge pride for speaking my mind. I was a force to be reckoned with. I never regretted anything I said or did. If I hurt someone’s feelings, it’s because I truly believed they needed to hear the truth, and they would thank me for it one day.
As you can imagine, I lost friends as quick as I made them. But I didn’t care. I would make new ones. (Luckily, I have two best friends that managed to stand by me for almost twenty years and never left me). These new “friends” I would make along the way would party with me as much as possible. I thought I was making “fun” memories with them at a bar every night and bonding with them in the morning over hangovers. The truth is, A LOT of those so-called fun times are very hazy (most likely due to the alcohol & drugs I mixed together every time I went out), and the ones I do remember, are riddled with anger, drama, random hookups, and my body constantly feeling like I got hit by a train. Or multiple close encounters with the threat of a DUI and police officers who had mercy on me. Doesn’t that sound like fun????
I honestly have no idea what I was thinking in my late-teens and twenties. I’m not even sure why I had this mentality at all. I have a fantastic family; my parents never did drugs and rarely drank. They’ve been happily married for almost 45 years. I wish I could tell you why, but I can’t remember anything specific. What I do know is about 5 years ago on my 30th birthday, I was sitting at a restaurant with my deadbeat boyfriend at the time, and I was so sad. I started thinking about the last time I actually had fun in my life. The last time I felt joy. It had been so long.
Not long after that I sank deeper in to depression, and ended up hospitalized for panic attacks and anxiety. Through the intervention of my parents and brothers, and my two best friends who unselfishly stood by me, I began to get my life together. I felt like it was going to take forever. But slowly the pieces of the puzzle began to fit. I started working again. A year later I got in to graduate school. I got a job teaching abroad a year after that. I traveled Europe solo last Fall.
Then the missing link in my life happened when I decided to join Cityfam the beginning of this year. I had no earthly idea why these people liked me, LOL. But the more I did stuff with them, the more I realized that the fun I was searching for was finally right in front of me. This crew was persistent too. But I wasn’t doing anything so what did I have to lose. And much to my surprise, I WAS having fun with them. And I wasn’t waking up the next morning questioning my actions from the night before.
So, what does fun without regret look like? It’s going out to a bar with friends and not getting drunk, and actually having meaningful conversations. It’s volunteering together shoveling dirt in a park and laughing about how gross we all look, but at least we look bad together. It’s getting a text about meeting up for dinner and a movie and hearing about everyone’s week and successes. It’s that friend who called me after my dog passed away and stayed on the phone with me until I laughed. It’s sitting by the water on a Monday with a new friend and eating fattening food without judgment.
It’s being a part of the fam.