At first when I decided to write another entry, I wanted to be expressive of the hope, joy, and closure I had been starting to find in my discoveries into how I’ve just wanted to be a better person.  Instead, I’m going to choose to be expressive of the pain, regret, and misery I’ve endured past to arrive at this point.

If you’d ask anybody who knows me, they’ll tell you that I know enough to be able to say with great efficiency what not to do in any given situation.  This knowledge, perhaps even a perverse form of wisdom, has served me well over the years.  I may not be able to give you the right answer but I can definitely give you a wrong one.  It’s a skill I don’t particularly wish on anyone.

With it, comes a certain anticipation that in whatever I did or whatever happens, there would be some negative reinforcement.  After all, the things we don’t do will haunt us more than the things we attempted and failed.  As a result, I’ve built a fortress of regret.  Over the years, it has kept me safe.  It has allowed me to seek shelter from risk and protection from malice.  However, this fortress has been oppressive in its zeal to keep me from harm to a point where there is no safety in complacency.  It only serves to further enforce the idea that if there is no risk, there is no reward.  If there’s no risk, there’s nothing to gain.

The irony in it is that through everything, I still felt like that I may not have been risking anything but I was still under the impression that there was something to gain.  I thought that maybe I was biding my time and looking for the right opportunity to act.  The only thing I found was that in biding my time, I was further making myself a victim to all the pain and allowing regret to encase my only weapon in such a shell that it would be useless to anyone who wanted it… my heart.

When I decided that it would serve my interests and anyone else I might come across to decide to set out on a journey of self-discovery, I never knew the lengths I would have to travel or to the depths I would have to dig to learn new things.  Not just about myself, but others to better serve them… and ultimately achieve a position that would allow me to come to grips with everything that I found to be wrong in my life.

It wasn’t until when that I allowed risk to motivate me that I found the path I was on to become a little more certain.  It didn’t matter how treacherous or the destination… all that matters is that I had to take the leap of faith I needed to walk.  I had to take the risk and just be mindful of the consequences… whether they be abundant and joyful or take action to mitigate the damage that these risks would inflict.

But, I found that the only real damage that was inflicted was firmly placed on my own shoulders.  Inevitably, the pain and regret I had so chose to escape would find its way back to me… and nothing is more devastating than feeling that your best option wasn’t good enough and that hoping for the best was futile.  It felt that letting go was the purest expression of acceptance and I didn’t want to accept that everything I had done would be a failure.  I couldn’t allow that… not because I didn’t want to be a failure but rather I still believed that the possibility of success, no matter how minute, was worth fighting for.

Because of this philosophy, I didn’t realize just how far I had set myself back.  I had spent so much time chasing the things I was afraid to lose to realize that the things that were afraid to lose me were so invested in chasing me.

I regret… not being able to tell Eric goodbye.  I regret not being able to be a better man to those that needed me to be.  I regret… missing out on an opportunity that has set the tone for most of my adult life.  These things haunt me.  They cripple me… and I’ve allowed them to instruct me to be submissive to reinforcing circumstances.  I’ve allowed them to hide me under the cover of protection when in truth, I’ve allowed them to hide me from what I want most.

I’ve allowed them to keep me on a path instead of forging my own.

Through the journey, I’ve found that pain and regret are inevitable and part of the process.  While these two things aren’t desired, they are indeed necessary.  There is a reason why we call them “growing pains.”  But, I’ve also found that they are tools for building our own identities.  We only learn from the pain that making the wrong decisions brings and the regret that makes us wish we didn’t have to learn the hard way.

But, any good Captain finds ways to beat the odds instead of hiding behind them.  Sadly, the only way we find success is learning from failure.  In spite of the growing list to affirm failure, I’ve chosen to press forward and keep searching for the success that has so eluded me.

This hope… hope I believed I had lost… offered me only one inescapable conclusion:  The chances I had lost would only prove to take pages out of the story I can only continue to write.  Not because I have a choice but rather it’s my only choice.  Far too many pages have been lost and it’s a decision that I couldn’t live with anymore.

In spite of all the missed opportunities and times I’ve felt isolated and alone, the idea that someday…somewhere down the line… that there will be a time where all the pain, regret, misery, and depression I had suffered along the way would carry me… and it has.

It has carried me away from the paradigm that there’s more to Life than just survival.  It has carried me away from the idea that there is a such thing as “too late.”

It has brought me to a place where I can honestly, in my heart, believe that there are opportunities aplenty to chase the things worth chasing, to be able to see the journey through, and to arrive at a place where making all the wrong decisions allows me to make the right ones and by being here, the wisdom to know that chances are what we make of them and all we need to find the right things…

Or in my case, a chance to finally let go…

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