Upon reading a friend's blog just now, I started thinking about the decisions we make and how they affect the rest of our lives. In my case, most specifically, my decision to move to South Florida after I graduated college.
I made this decision with the hopes that my relationship with my then boyfriend would flourish and grow once we were in the same state. What I couldn't see at the time, having been in a long-distance relationship with him for several years by that point and therefore blind to the actual truth, was that he had built a life for himself down there, one that didn't include me. He flat-out told me not to move down there because of him.
"Don't do this for me, do it for yourself," he said, more than one time.
Why else would I move there, I always wanted to shout at him, but my single-minded infatuation had its hand around my throat, had its fingers pressed against my lips.
And so, to the expense and heartbreak of my father, I packed up everything I owned and moved 1,000 miles from my home, family and friends, none of which, might I add, had anything less than animosity for the boyfriend. Because they could see his nature, they heard the words, the insults and slurs, that he flung at me when I could not, when all I heard was the silence that stretched between us during infrequent phone conversations, the silence I would do absolutely anything to fill.
That move spiraled into a darkness that, now, I have a hard time remembering. I've even put off writing my Florida Chronicles like I said I would because, well, I don't want to face that time. I don't want to remember it. And trust me, when I don't want to remember something the only way it breaks through is in my dreams, or a sudden jolt of memory triggered by a smell, a flash of the tender underside of a leaf, the smell of salt, the grit of sand.
But as awful as those 18 months in Florida were, there were some bright spots, some good times, some new friends. And most importantly, I learned from the many, many mistakes I made down there, the uninformed and strictly heartfelt decisions I made. Bad decision number one being: Do not live above your means.
I have finally come to a place where I accept my bad decisions, I refuse to regret, because regretting anything is simply a waste of time and energy. I understand that everything happens for a reason, and while it hurt, and my entire world crumbled beneath me I am beyond fortunate to have family and friends who care about me, who support and love me despite my sometimes blind judgment and irrational, impulsive decisions. Without them, without my father and stepmother, primarily, who scooped me up from my puddle of regret and self-loathing to move me and my devil dog back to Tennessee, without them I would have surely wasted away and become someone none of them would recognize. I was well on my way to becoming that someone when they rescued me.
I'm sure I'm going to make more bad decisions in the future - hell, I'm lucky I can even spell the word "perfect," much less be it. But I'm taking the time, now, to scrutinize angles and turn over choices in my hands, examine, project and wonder. And I continue to learn. I'm learning now from a mistake I made last year which just slapped me in the face last week. It's humbling, bowing to these mistakes, but there's worse things to be than humble.