Thursday, March 26, 2009

If I could go back

Before I start my intended post, I must clarify something simple. The post below this one isn't really a mistake. I started it, and Natalie (my 17-month-old) sneaked in and submitted it! I originally was going to delete it and start over, but decided to keep it. For sentimental reasons. And now, I bring you the post for which you've been waiting - I hope!

Whenever people want to get to know someone, many questions are routinely asked. One of them is "If you could go back in time, what would you change?" My answer is usually one of the following (or some combination thereof):
  • I would change nothing, because every bit of it has made me who I am today and brought me here.
  • I would avoid getting into debt - excepting the standard student loans, auto loans, and mortgage.
  • I would have chosen a different major.
  • I would use another similar thing as my answer.
Those are mostly true - generally speaking. But, tonight, I was thinking. And there are actually a bunch of (mostly) smaller things I would change, if given a chance. And, since this is the place to unload my mind, I'm gonna subject you all to it.

So, if I was able to go back and change things, there are some things I'd do differently.
  • I would not have moved before my family did. The summer before I started high school, my parents decided it was time to move to a different suburb. It would put me into a completely different school district in which I knew no one. The house was put up for sale in July. We figured it'd take at least a few months, as often is the case. But, well, that wasn't how it worked out. The house sold in FIVE days. That's less than a week! My parents found a house, etc. The Big Move was going to be toward the end of September - after school had started. I was given the choice of either transferring after starting school or staying with a friend and starting school in my new district. I opted for the latter. I didn't want to be The New Kid that everyone wonders about mid-year. I didn't want all of that attention. I didn't want to have to struggle in my classes as I figured out where I was academically. I thought starting school in my new school would be best. Well, that worked out OK. Staying with my friend was cool, and I suppose there's something to be said for not transferring about a month into the school year your freshman year of high school. But, there were things I never saw coming.
    For one, I wasn't able to get into the right classes. I registered about a week before school was starting, and the guidance counselor didn't have my transcripts. He gave me the choice of physical science (I think that's what it was) or biology. I chose biology. I ended up in a class full of sophomores, rather than in the advanced biology classes with the other freshmen! (Interestingly, I didn't figure this out until my senior year, when my resulting GPA was just a smidgen too low for the National Honor Society, of which I desperately wanted to be a part.) This was one of many classes in which this happened. Not only did it happen freshman year, it did the following year, too. My first semester I was in a class full of juniors - intermediate level. My second semester, they finally figured out their mistake, and I was put into the advanced level with my peers. But, by that point it was too late. I was confused as hell and didn't do so well.
    The other thing was that socially it was rough. I had grown up with most of my classmates, and been through the toughest years - known as junior high - with them, and never got closure. With the exception of my closest friends, I never got to say good-bye to anyone. I just disappeared off the face of the planet, so far as many of them were concerned. In fact, ironically, during college I actually ran into one of my junior high classmates at a concert. He was sitting next to me - I didn't recognize him at all, but he was able to place me. (This strikes me as particularly ironic, given the fact that I had a big crush on him in junior high and he didn't seem to notice me at all. LOL) He said hi, then asked "What happened to you? You just disappeared." So, I explained the situation and he understood. But, that was one of the first times I really thought about the social side of my move.
    Recently, thanks to facebook, I have been able to re-connect with some of these people. It's been so neat, but at the same time it raised my awareness of what I've missed out on. Perhaps I could have remained in touch with many of these people if I had attended the first few weeks of school with them.
  • I would have majored in something different. Don't get me wrong, I love my English degree. I enjoyed studying it. And, well, it was easy! LOL But, it wasn't necessarily what I wanted to study. I had considered studying in something music related, but my mom wouldn't let me. She told me she wouldn't help me pay for school if I did, so I went with English. Turns out, I should've followed my heart - my parents hardly helped me with my education anyway. They took out one small loan my freshman year, then I was on my own. I had loans up the wazoo, and a very generous gift from my mom's uncle at the beginning of the school year. (And, yes, I'm still paying off my loans.) If I could go back, I'd major in music engineering so I could produce music. I think that would be awesome!
  • I would have left Shadow at my parents' house when Dan and I first got married and moved into our apartment. She was a very, very sweet cat, but she wasn't a fan of the litterbox. She'd pee outside it, but never inside it. After having taking a couple of animal sciences classes about pets, I thought I could fix her. Generally, cats who do that do so because of FLUTD - Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease. Not Shadow. It was behavioral. Nothing we did helped her get it right. It probably didn't help that she was an indoor/outdoor cat when she lived at my parents' house. Finally, shortly before Grant was born, we got rid of her. But, by that point, the damage had been done.
  • I never would've suggested we get the dog. He's a nice dog, and he's not all bad, but if I could change things we'd have stopped with the cats. I definitely am NOT a dog person. I prefer my cats. One thing is that dogs are so friggin' gross. There are things he does that just about make me sick. The other thing is the back yard isn't the haven it used to be for Abby. Before we got the dog, I'd take her out back and we'd play and sit on a blanket and blow bubbles, etc. Not anymore. Our yard's not big enough for us to section off part of it for the dog. So, he gets free run of the yard - which means there's dog pee and dog shit everywhere. Yes, we scoop occasionally - I mean Dan scoops occasionally. I don't do dog shit. He doesn't have time to scoop it every single day, so the kids and I generally play out front or go to the park. I miss playing out back with them.
  • I would not have joined a sorority. Don't get me wrong, I made some good friends. Two of them stood up for me at my wedding. But, I am hardly in touch with anyone from it anymore. And, really, I think the sorority is why I ended up with so much debt coming out of school. Yes, living in house is cheaper than the dorms - until you factor in the general costs of being in a sorority: dues, social events, etc. It was so friggin' expensive, and not the amazing thing I was hoping it would be. The kicker for me is that they ("they" being the national offices of said sorority) wouldn't let me use my deceased grandmother's badge (really, it's a PIN). She died a horrible, painful death from cancer when I was in the third grade. I'm sure she had other things on her mind than her stupid pin. They wouldn't let me use it (nevermind she's the main reason I chose that particular sorority in the first place) because she didn't do what she was supposed to do with it when she died - either be buried with it or send it back to them. Whatever. I still have it, and they are NOT getting it back. Anyway, my pissed off self wanted to refuse to initiate at that point, but I didn't. I had already moved into the house and I felt stuck, so I initiated. If I could go back, I'd have chosen not to initiate when they refused to let me honor my grandmother.
And now my mind is mush. I'm spent. I know there are more things, but apparently I've tired myself out writing what I have. So, until the next time I feel like playing the could've/should've/would've game, I'll just say regret sucks. I'm trying not to sweat this stuff, as nothing can change any of it - it's in the past. I just need to master the art of self-forgiveness, something I've never done well at all.
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