This morning I woke up next to the love of my life, kissed him goodbye, and left his apartment in a city that I love to a job I not only tolerate, but one that makes me look forward to Mondays.
Life is good.
So, why have I chosen now to talk about regret? Nobody wants to talk about regret. There are few things more unsettling than recognizing mistakes you’ve made in the past, but having no power whatsoever to fix them. And no, mom, I’m not talking about my tattoos.
Just a few short years ago I was in the thick of my twenties. Single. Confused. Either drunk or hungover. Not sure what to do, be it with my career or with my emotional baggage. I remember making the decision to move to Atlanta on a whim and the next thing I knew, I had a packed car and was clenching my steering wheel with sweaty palms trying to survive the treacherous city traffic. I lived in a studio with very little actual furniture. I didn’t have a balcony or a porch, so I’d sit on the building’s staircase at night and anxiously smoke cigarettes thinking they’d calm me down and cry into bottles of cheap wine because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I prayed a lot. I knew no more than two people in the entire state of Georgia, so everyone I casually came in contact with became a potential friend. I’d network wherever I went, from bars to grocery stores, and the people I met that way are now some of the closest people to me. We’d stay up all hours singing and dancing and narrowly avoiding trouble.
Every single day of this strange, transitional time held endless possibilities. It was all unknown territory. I had no idea who I’d meet, what I’d learn, and where my path would take me. I was the Lewis and Clarke of my own existence. The less concrete and settled things are, the more room there is for exciting things to happen. Who would I grow up to become? That was all for me to find out!
Here comes the regretful part. As cliche as it sounds, life is about the journey, not the destination. I was so focused on finding the right job, the right partner, the right everything, that I didn’t always enjoy the times in between. When something didn’t work out, I’d incessantly dwell on it and analyze every last detail. This resulted in hours wasted on self-doubt and insecurity when I should have just trusted the process! I couldn’t control the outcomes, but I could’ve controlled my reactions. Looking back, I see I didn’t get everything I wanted for a reason; better things were on the way.
There are times I wish I could go back and tell myself: Montana, it’s okay. What’s meant for you will find you. Relax and have fun! The rejections, the heartbreaks, and the setbacks are just making you stronger and preparing you for the amazing things coming next. If you feel empty, good! That means there’s plenty of space to fill with self-love!
Now I try my best to face everything that comes at me with that new perspective. Something didn’t work out? Wow, I can’t wait to see what’s coming in its place! I wouldn’t have this newfound clarity if it weren’t for the mistakes of my past.
I guess you could say my regret isn’t really a regret after all.