Using Regrets To Create Clarity

Note: Some images I took with my new 50mm lens!! I loved these so much I wanted to share them with you. Please don’t edit or re-use without my permission!

Call Box

As I was working on another post, I realized that I struggle with clarity because I have no idea what will make me happy. In the past, I realized that a lot of the decisions I made were based around survival and trying to escape from trauma of some kind. I’ve never really had the opportunity to explore my interests in any significant or meaningful way.

I’m not entirely sure I understand why.

But through the rocky road of entrepreneurship over this past year, I’ve been given a crash course in Who I Am. I’ve certainly uncovered more about myself since working on my own than in the 20 some odd years I’ve been on Earth. If nothing else, working for myself and having to rely on myself for an income has tested me.

There were definitely a lot of growing pains, missteps and fuck-ups. Things didn’t work out, ended up being a waste of my time, or probably would’ve worked out had I been in a different place at that particular moment. And although I struggle with clarity around my future, I do have fantastic hindsight. (Doesn’t everybody?!).

Outside Kitty

Spending a lot of time trying to survive, doesn’t lend itself well to self-exploration. When everything you do is about making sure you have money for food, or a roof over your head – there’s little room to think. Even decisions that I thought were centered around “happiness” were tinged heavily with the worrisome energy of desperation, uncertainty and survival. I got attached to these decisions because they often represented something I needed: freedom, money, stability.

Moving to Philadelphia to pursue Americorps was one of those decisions. Living in cramped, and impoverished conditions at home, the atmosphere quickly grew stifling. Suddenly I was too old to be living at home, I needed a higher paying job, I wasn’t doing anything, etc etc. Americorps, despite all of its failings as a program, gave me the one-way ticket out that I needed. Living with family has never been an option for me and this continues to be the case.

And while living here has mostly been the opposite of pleasurable, I don’t live with family anymore – and for that I’m eternally grateful.

But it’s a decision that nonetheless has left me in a tailspin as I become more complacent and risk averse. Staying here has been one of my bigger regrets – but finances have been keeping me here. As I try to figure out what my next step should be, I think of the more persistent regrets I’ve had over the past two years:

  • Not moving out of the city
  • Not taking the time to develop my tech skills
  • Not prioritizing my French, and working to develop it
  • Not writing 🙁

In a lot of posts about personal development, a lot of people talk about passion, pursuing happiness (or bliss), or some other overwhelming emotional state. I think for me, my goal should be to have a life with as little regrets as possible. What this means is doing what I want, when I want to. I’ve pursued things when I didn’t have the skills to back myself up – and I don’t regret those decisions at all – and I’ve done things that I thought were rational and would help me – and I regret several of those decisions all the time.

Solo Flower

At the end of my life, I’d like to think that I took the opportunity to do with my life what I wanted and that I trusted myself to know I could handle the consequences of those choices.

I don’t know what I want my life to look like 5 or 10 years from now – and there’s no reason why I should. But, at least a year from now, I’d like to think that I took a chance on myself – on my life – and didn’t let myself get sucked into complacency (or risk aversion) because I didn’t trust myself enough.

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