This morning on the way in to work, I was listening to Miguel's "All I Want Is You" (obviously his album is in heavy rotation as evidenced by THIS previous post). For some reason, the line "Regret gets exhausting" stood out to me. Mainly, because it's true. Secondly, because it's profound. This wasn't the first time the lyric struck a chord with me, just the first time I was inspired to delve deeper. Recently, I've been having a lot of conversations with loved ones revolving around the fact that they aren't happy with where they are in life. I find that this is a relatable issue if I've ever heard one.
For me, it's happened 2 times in my life that I can actually put a finger on. Once was when I was around 22, and a lot of my friends were graduating from college and I was bartending in Atlanta, not feeling fulfilled at all. The second was when I was turning 25, and I started to think about, where I thought I should be or would be by that age, and the fact that I wasn't even close. Around the same time, I started to relinquish any lingering feelings of inadequacy in relation to what others were doing. I began to realize that having goals and not meeting them is one thing. It's fine to be disappointed in your lack of success in certain ventures. But using the accomplishments of others as a measuring stick was indeed futile.
As all of this was transpiring, I decided to make a big leap. To do something I'd always wanted to do. That was move to LA. From the time I was a wee lil pickney, I always loved California. I used to watch shows like Sweet Valley High, Saved By The Bell (how hot was Zack Slater?), and California Dreams. I used to look at the life that these kids lived that included endless sunny days, high schools with lockers, and cheesy school dances that I didn't remember seeing my cousins from Brooklyn attending. Then when my childhood idol, Brandy went to Pepperdine University, I was like "That's it! I'm gonna get to Californ-I-A one way or the other". I began contemplating moving to California to go to UCLA. Then I got caught up in high school politics and thinking I was grown and UCLA became a forgone dream. I was more concerned with graduating on time due to my endless slacking (I did end up graduating on time by the way).
Anywho, by the time my mid twenties rolled around, my love affair with California hadn't quite subsided. I had never been to visit so for my 24th birthday, I went. It was everything I dreamed and more. I went with a friend who knew how I felt about it and she said "Hey, if you're serious about moving out here, I'll do it with you!" That was all she wrote! After about a year and a half of saving and heavily contemplating, I quit my job, packed up my things and headed out west. The initial plan was to stay for 4 months (I had an unexpected window of opportunity), but in the end it only ended up being 2. Those were two of the best months of my entire life.
Things went south with the friend (you know me and my death before dishonor ish, another blog for another day), so I ended up spending most of the time there alone. It wasn't all easy but I learned how to drive a stick shift, I hustled cologne and perfume all over LA so I didn't have to work for anyone, I got a tatt (those always make you feel bad ass), I met some really cool people who may end up being life long friends, and most importantly I did something that I really wanted to do. Was it drama free? No. Did people try to stop me? Yes. Did they? Hell no. Even then, I knew that I only had one life to live and I was gonna spend my time living it. If I hadn't jumped out the window and done it, I'd probably still regret it til this day.
If it's one thing that I don't want to live with, it's regret. Life's too short to spend time worrying about what could have been, or what we wish we would have had, or what we should have done. Everyone (well most people) wishes they were further along in life, or closer to the standards that they may have set for themselves. But the danger comes, when the standards you set for yourself run parallel with the accomplishments of others. No bueno. If we spent more time doing what we really wanted to do, and less time worrying about what other people are doing or what we should be doing, I think we'd be a lot further along on our own personal journeys. Regret is exhausting, most definitely. So how 'bout you spend your time tiring yourself out doing what YOU really want to do, not what you think you SHOULD be doing. People will always be afraid to try new things. They will always push their fears onto you. It's the way of the world. It's up to us, individually, to write our own biographies, and actually I'm diggin' the first volume of mine, detours and all.