There’s an alternate reality where I don’t have crippling regrets in my approaching thirty. And it doesn’t involve a story about girlboss’ ambitions, nor daydreams about living in Scandinavia, nor making overdue amends with people who share your blood—not that kind. The premise is about living your early 20s carelessly, pouring your hearts out and accepting love where it might’ve been promised. To let one guard’s down where it felt safe to do so, and to quit building fences out of insecurity and fear of not being able to be vulnerable enough to let anybody in.
I feel bad and ashamed for even inviting those thoughts into my headspace. How did I allow myself to be so beaten over silly summer flings that could’ve been? To even dare to ask myself, have I traded my best years with the comfort of a safety net, that in the end doesn’t even feel so sturdy anymore?
I don’t know if I would’ve been happier or just as desperate. I would perhaps circle back to the same old situation anyway, wondering if I had done enough to allow myself to be happy.
Will I ever find out whether it is stagnation or unpredictability that would bring me more happiness and/or cherishable memories at the end?
I am in a state of paralysis, I guess, and I need any possible kind of force to move me.
Even if it means rewinding back the old tape at the back of my mind, watching the scenes where unrequited albeit mutual romances died out at the hand of fear. Fear of shame and embarrassment, fear of breaking promises, fear of the largest unknown to men. At least I felt something, and I can remember it still somehow.
But it does feel morally so wrong to have done so. To be offered the world and everything in it, yet I still ask for the sky that probably brings more hailstorms and thunderclaps rather than rainbows. And to still even think about what was too far gone, never to be fetched again, ever.
And I’m paying off the debt. Out of the last remaining bits of me that still preserve sanity, logics, and better judgments. Not knowing how much I owe until the last of it disappears.
There’s an alternate reality where my early 20s alter ego scattered her heart out, recklessly. She won all the fleeting affection she ever wanted, and there was no attachment issue involved. She was vulnerable enough to invite others in, but tough enough to let go when things no longer serve their goals or what they were. She doesn’t contemplate in her 27 wondering if she did what she had to do to feel blissful in the long run, or if she just denied all the chances to make cherishable memories thanks to her anxiety.
Answers are not guaranteed, I know. And it’s useless to even miss anybody right now. Not when we’re already way past the curfew to be forgiven to do so.