This will probably be hard to explain due to a lack of exact dates and keeping things anonymous but I’ll try.
When I was young I really wanted to be a writer. I got internships in that both summers and then in my last semester I had a really big internship where I spent a semester in a big city working as an intern for a big organization. Honestly, I was basically a coffee fetcher, but it was fun and I fetched coffee for some big names.
After college, I returend to Podunk and got a small writing job locally. There was a part of me that wanted to go back to the back city and pursue a life there as a writer. It didn’t seem far fetched. As a young person in my early 20s, I’d already gotten a lot of experience. The rents wanted me to pursue something more practical and while I don’t want to throw them under the bus for doing what parents do and I realize it was up to me follow through with what I wanted, I ultimately chose the practical.
Do I blame them? A bit. Do I blame myself the most? Of course. There comes a time in adult life where you have to realize your parents don’t know everything and you will have to defy and disappoint them. Don’t worry though because either way it will work out great for them. If you defy them and do what you want and it fails, they can say I told you so forever. If you defy them and do what you want and it succeeds, they’ll say they were behind you all along and it was their idea. Also, fun fact, if you obey them and do what they want and it fails, they’ll say well you should have been your own man and what do they know.
Anyway, I blame myself entirely. It is a week man who blames others for their failings.
I told myself I’d do the practical for a while and then after I’ve made some money I’ll do what I actually want. (Kids, FYI this doesn’t happen. Don’t buy that shit if someone tells you it does.)
Long story short, the practical thing didn’t work out. At that point I thought maybe I should go back to my true love of writing.
But I was a wuss. So I did another practical thing. This practical thing actually worked out.
I do feel like I cheated myself though. The writing world had accepted me early and I ended up worrying that I’d end up 30 and failed because I wasn’t being paid much at 20. Now I realize that yeah, that just happens. You have to pay your dues but good for you, your foot is in the door. Your feet are on the first rung of the ladder, so keep climbing.
At this point now, I’m 40. I’m self sufficient. I suffered a lot though and to be honest, a lack of stability made relationships difficult. I had to come to grips this year with the fact that it’s too late to have children. Technically, I can have them forever but all the women in my age bracket are closed down for baby business.
Could I adopt a little Chinese kid? Sure. Do I fear they’ll send me a faulty one on purpose and refuse to take it back? All the big ticket purchases I’ve made in recent years where I open the box only to find that the item is missing a part such that someone at the factory was asleep at the switch tells me yes. (Was this meant as a joke? Partially.)
There’s nothing I can do about it now, but the regret is palpable. I had my foot in the door in what I wanted at an early age. Then I talked myself out of it. Then when that failed I was free to go back to what I wanted but I chickened out again. Ergo, had I just stuck like ten straight years in what I wanted, I probably would have gotten to be where I wanted.
Although sometimes now I think maybe it worked out because I guess I’ll never know for sure writing would have worked out.
I guess we never know how things work until we do them. When they don’t work, we are certain the opposite course would have been a success.
Question – How do I cope with this regret?
My answer – Keep writing self published books and hope one of them hits.
Feel free to offer your answers in the comments.
Thank you. For the kick in the wotsit, and the advice I seem unwilling to give myself.
I don’t know enough about your situation, so I can’t really give advice.. And I don’t really like advising anyway. I can hope things work out for you though.. And ask questions.. What about a partner in her mid 30s? Or someone with kids from a previous partnership partnership? Also, I thought you could choose which kid to adopt – like at the dog rescue centres.. Was I wrong there? Besides..from talking to people and reading parenting blogs, it seems having your own kids is a lottery in itself – I had no idea how high the stakes were and how often you get a more challenging hand than you bargained with..
All the best!
Umm yeah I don’t know. You don’t get time back and it’s difficult to play catch-up sooo I’m probably just stuck with regret. My advice to younger people would be just pick what you want the most and hopefully you’ll land close to it.
you know how when you’re a teenager your parents tell you, just wait until you have kids, you’ll get one just like you.
They mean it as a slam about how terrible you are. I heard this a lot.
Well, guess what, I didn’t get me. I got my husband. LOL
Kids are like most things in life, never quite what you expect or are prepared for. A lot of kids need good homes. They have Fost to Adopt programs in all states, I think. You can try one out before you “buy” it. LOL.
I’m not sure I’d live long enough to see it grow up. I have health problems though they’re at a point I could fix them if I drop bad habits. I don’t know I had my chances. There were nice women who liked me when I was younger but I kept wanting to see if I’d ever do better. Spoiler alert: I didn’t. Cue my face looking like Larry David while the tuba plays
There’s having regrets, and there’s being a regretful person. I get the impression that you’re choosing to stay where you are.??
Ummm yeah I suppose life is learning we aren’t perfect and accepting ups and downs. I do think I forced errored a lot of my downs but oh well
You could still marry a 35-year-old. Women around me are still popping them out at that age. 🙂
I’d have to meet her today, hope she’s willing to get married in a couple years and then factor in a couple years of tries at babymaking just to get her knocked up by 40
By the time she’s 40 and I’m 45
My husband’s grandmother had her last at 43…
Yeah but she was already married in a solid relationship with the father years prior one assumes
Yes. That was her 13th. 😀
I’d have to meet a chick today to get a bun in her oven by 43. It’s over. Game over man.
Well, if you’re determined. I still say you ought to stop spending your nights writing about alligators and complaining and go out on dates. 😉
Toilet Gator is basically my only plan to turn life around. Otherwise I am too hideous and far gone but maybe if I get a lot of toilet gator money I can impress the ladies
You seriously need a different plan.
And, by the way, you’d probably get more than 3.5 followers if you read THEIR stuff.
Hmm yes I could probably put more effort into reading others stuff.
I don’t think it’s possible to accomplish much in 40s if you didn’t set the ground work in 20s and 30s. The post was partly wanting kids and partly just wanting to feel successful before I die but life favors the young on these things. I made some errors in judgment and unfortunately turning it around without a miracle ie something on the level of toilet gator the movie seems unlikely
So now it’s just basically trying to stay calm. I know it sounds bad but most people didn’t make the mistakes I did.
Oh, I understand. And I’m not living in your body nor experiencing everything you’ve tried over the last 20 years or so. It’s always easy to advise from the outside.
Really, though, that’s the best advice I think I’ve ever given myself: what would I tell a friend who came to me with the exact problem? Well, then, do it!
There no longer seems a clear path to happiness so it’s hard.
Heck, I’m probably ON that path and still struggle.
That’s what counselors get paid for, I suppose.
Really what I need is a hopeless 30 year old who I’d go out with a couple years then marry and get knocked up by 35. Even then I’d have to meet her tomorrow and it would have to all go off without a hitch.
Other than Toilet Gator taking off I’m not sure why any right minded woman would submit to this. Currently all hope rides on Toilet Gator.
I’m not sure what your dating strategy is, but it’s gotta be a little less outgoing than it needs to be. I have fat, middle-aged neighbors getting married.
My condolences to them 😛
I’m serious, Mr. Depressed.
Doing the practical thing is definitely what I fear because I feel I’ll never find a way out of it if I do that. Everyone I know has gotten into the practical and have all told me to be realistic. They do support me, but fear I may fail. Especially after reading this, I’d rather fail countless times and finally succeed ones in the extraordinary than feel relegated to the practical. Thank you for sharing!
It’s hard to say. I’ve found in today’s economy there is great competition for any job so on that note, there’s an argument that if you’re going to be competing, you might as well be ducking it out for your dream career rather than say duking it out to be an insurance claims adjuster. On the other hand, the arts require you to go to a big city, live poor for a long time till you catch a break. The practical jobs will have opportunities in your backyard so you can mooch off family till you build some savings. Ultimately, the boomers thought they were helping when they made degrees easier to get than candy sooo…you have to figure it out and whether it’s a big dream or something practical there just isn’t the guarantee of success the older generations have anymore. Good luck in whatever you decide.