This post will have two introductions, as I originally wrote it for last Friday, but Blogger went psycho and ate the world's posts for a day. Then it finally came back. In other words, Blogger was UNPREDICTABLE, which is actually this week's theme. So in blogging about last week's theme, because Blogger was unpredictable, I am, in turn, BEING UNPREDICTABLE. Which fits. So here's my unpredictably last-week blog for this week.
God I'm unpredictable.
Without further ado, here it is . . . And thanks again for having me, ladies.
Hello my lovelies! Let me start out by saying that I could not be more excited about this topic as my introductory blog post. For I am a great carper of the diems.
Basically, everyone has already said why we should all grab life by the horns and then pole vault over it to straddle it and ride it into the ground. That's how I think of my existence, and that's how I try to live. Everyone has already done a lovely job of telling you how living life with guts and gusto often leads you to better, more beautiful horizons. How, if we don't try, we never succeed. And, finally, how unfulfilling can be a life led in the shadow of regret.
I live by this credo, and I've succeeded by this credo.
I've also, on more than one occasion, been gored by those horns I was too slow to grab.
So I want to take a second to talk about regret, and those times when our battle cry of "Carpe Diem!" has left us lying, poleaxed, on a field of carnage that was once our life.
Living life hard hurts. I've got skid marks the size of Minnesota. I've fallen (and occasionally gotten trampled) far more times than I've managed that pole-vault/straddle combo. And there have been quite a few moments when my life's ridden me into the ground, rather than vice versa.
So what do we do when seizing the day gets us hurt? How do we deal with regret?
I've come not to believe in regret. Now, don't get me wrong. This is not to say I've not done any stupid things. I've done enough stupid things for ten little girls, and I'm doing at least two really stupid things RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT. Indeed, I oftentimes do something that I realize is both seizing the day and stupid. When I inevitably am lying on the floor seeing stars, I think, "Wow, that was stupid. And probably only stupid. So stupid I would regret this if I had any sense."
And I do regret! I spend a few weeks gnawing open my wounds so that they can't heal, going over everything I did that was idiotic, and telling myself, "You shouldn't have done that, dummy."
But then a few more weeks pass, and I stop berating myself so much. I stop keeping the wounds open, to punish myself, and I let them heal a bit. And then I'm able to pause, and think, and realize that I really, really needed that lesson.
Sometimes such lessons have been general, "I need to apply some brakes," lessons. In the past, my living hard has taken typically immature routes, and I've learned lessons that helped me cut down on or cut out certain behaviors. Nowadays, those lessons are usually about me learning to say "no," and learning to give myself what I need to stay healthy to write.
Other times, the lessons have been really specific. For example, I've never been sure if I wanted children, and I hid behind this screen of, "I'll have kids as long as I'm partnered up with a Breast, like Nathan Lane in the Bird Cage." Then I was called on my bluff in an otherwise silly relationship that crashed and burned, and that--for a few weeks--I really regretted even getting into. When I was able to think clearly about everything, however, I realized that having my bluff called made me admit some hard truths to myself, and to stop hiding behind shady excuses. So yeah, the relationship was a bust, but I thought through something really tough because of it.
Finally, some lessons have been ENORMOUS. Like when I realized I'd finally turned a corner in my life: I was older, I had responsibilities, I was kind of a mini-public-figure, and I shouldn't date people who'd been to prison or who have never had a real job. While most of you probably knew that already, it was a big moment for me.
Seriously, though, carping your diem isn't about always making good decisions. It's just as often about making bad decisions. After all, it's as much through mistakes as success that we grow, and we learn a hell of a lot more about ourselves from how we deal with rejection than we do through being honored.
So live expecting to get hurt. Expect life to be bloody, a little embarrassing, and probably full of things you regret for a few weeks. And then let those bruises heal, get together with friends over some cocktails, and talk about what an ass you were and how much learned from the experience.
Because that's also what life's about.