Do you ever go back and think about that one moment–that one, single moment where everything changed completely? That one decision that changed the entire course of your life? Do you? Or am I the only one?
For the longest time, I was convinced that moment–for me–was the night I went with He-Who-Doesn’t-Deserve-To-Be-Named, or furthermore, the night I first met him. Certainly, that was a pivotal moment in regards to my recent past and near present, but I’ve come to the conclusion that there was a moment long before then that was “the” moment. It happened nearly 7 years ago, I when I made the decision to leave school. I guess you could say it was one of those “if I’d known then what I know now” kind of decisions. At the time, I didn’t know the ramifications I would face or all the mistakes I would make. I had no idea what was going to happen. Really, the only one true thing that I did know was that I needed to get away from there. It didn’t matter how I did it, I just needed to do it. It wasn’t just about getting myself out of and away from the abusive relationship I was in with a guy I had met and was seeing there. Granted, that played a major role in my decision, but it wasn’t the only factor. There were others. If I’m being completely honest, I’d say that I was a little overwhelmed by it all. Okay…maybe more than a little, but yeah. It wasn’t the school itself or the classes or even the work–I could handle all of that in my sleep. It was the rest of it that I didn’t feel prepared for. Like trying to figure out where I belonged in a swarm of people who were nothing at all alike myself. I’m not kidding when I say that a good 90-95% of the kids that went there were stuck-up, private school rich kids. As such, it’s more than a little difficult trying to relate to people who are pretty much your polar opposites. The only real way to get around that is to essentially re-invent yourself. So that’s what I did. That’s what I thought I was supposed to do, you know? I mean, isn’t that what college is all about? Making friends was the easy part. It was finding true friends that proved difficult. It’s hard to open up and put yourself out there to people you barely know, so you hold back the big parts of yourself and yearn even more for the close friends you left behind–the people who really know you and who’ve been there through the ups and downs. Maybe I would have found a better or easier way to get out of that relationship sooner than I did if I’d had someone to trust and confide in. Maybe. I don’t know.
I’m sure being homesick didn’t help any. Yes, I was homesick–as embarrassing as that is for me to admit. I miss my friends. I missed my family. I missed the town I grew up in–the place that held all my memories, good and bad. I missed all of it. Being away–even though it was just an hour’s distance apart–was hard. I felt so removed from everything. Like I was no longer a part of that world anymore. Even being surrounded by people, I’d never felt so alone.
I think another big part of it all was that I simply wasn’t ready to grow up. Or to be an adult. As much as I’d craved my independence over the years while I was still in high school–once it came, I wasn’t prepared. I felt like I had just dived into water that was way over my head. If I’d had my way, I’d have taken a year off after high school–taken the time to figure out who I was and what I wanted out of life. But of course, that would have gone completely against everything that was expected of me. The family wouldn’t even consider the idea. And at the time, I didn’t have the nerve to go against or question their wishes. They were convinced that it was for the best, assuming that I’d be another statistic and end up not going after the year was up like I said I would. Sure, there’s a possibility that might have happened…but there’s just as much a possibility that I would have kept my word. I’ll never know now, and that sucks.
Even so, I wish I’d stayed. I think about it all the time. Where I’d be now if only I’d stuck it out and done things right. I’d have graduated and earned my degree by now. And with the school’s impeccable reputation lining my resume, my career would have been set. I’d probably have had a great life by now. Who knows, I might even have been married and started a family by now…like everyone else my age is doing. I’d never have gone down that path of no return/ aka drugs and alcohol like I did. It’s a good guarantee that I never would have met the jerk…and everything else that happened after that–all that hell and drama. I’d have saved myself a hell of a lot of heartache, that’s for sure.
A lot wouldn’t have happened if I’d stayed. Chances are, I wouldn’t be this jaded or cynical. I have to believe that I’d be happy. Or happier than I am, at least. I know I can’t go back, but that doesn’t stop me from wishing I could. They say that everything happens for a reason and I’d like to believe that…but it’s hard. Maybe I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Maybe all of this happened for reason–that it was supposed to make me into the person I am today. Maybe there’s a bigger purpose in all of this that I just haven’t discovered yet. I don’t know.
I have to believe it gets better. That it gets easier. I have to.