A look back at 19

Originally posted Monday September 10, 2012

I just stumbled upon one of the first essays I wrote at the University of Northern Colorado and thought I would share. It is a good thing I took a lot more English and writing classes after this~ Crazy!

Shari Nelson   
Mrs. Steward
English 122    
September 7, 2006
            Last night I woke up in the middle of the night looking around for something, someone, I then realized I was all alone in my bed staring at my glow in the dark stars on my ceiling, I then realized that it was all a dream. Later not being able to fall asleep I began thinking in the dark silence of my room that there are a lot of things I wish I could change now, that I did in my past. When someone would ask me that age old question how many things in your life do you regret doing. I would always answer; “I don’t live by regrets, so I don’t have any.” Now as I sit here at my desk in my room thinking about my past, there really are many things I wish I could change. Some of those things are childish now, like lying to my parents about not where I was and who I was with. Others are far more important that I now will never be able to go back and change, but just maybe my life thus far would have played out a lot differently if I hadn’t made those decisions. On days where you get home to find no one there, you sit down to read or watch television and all of a sudden you feel incomplete. You begin to feel like something inside of you is empty, like when you know you are about to get caught in a lie or even when you haven’t eaten anything in the last few hours. That emptiness is something that can be neither forgotten nor filled it is there until you admit to yourself why it’s really inside of you.
            Life comes and goes, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. In a lot of things I have done my fears have made all the difference. I stare fear straight in the eye, to show myself and others I can do whatever I set my mind to. I understand now that it isn’t about showing others what you can and can’t do, because if you spend your life trying to prove something to everyone, in the end you will forget what you were even getting at. Now that I am at a point in my life that I need to develop, that I need to expand my life, I know that sometimes you just have to do what people say to get what you want. Our worst fear is not inadequacy, but the fear of not holding ourselves up to what we think others want us to be. To do things as if nothing else matters, is not what needs to be done, one must do things and still know that any action can affect any other person at any time. Regrets are not the things that need to be counted and remembered and discussed it is achievements that matter the most, the times we conquer our fears.
            Courage was not what was missing in the past; it was the fact that I never included those who were around me. I have gone about life thinking I could do everything on my own, and now sitting here listening to the clock tick away life I realize no one will know what I have done or how it feels if I don’t let them feel it with me. Telling a story can do so much but actually being a part of it has no replacement. Being a part of something is never the same as being part of something good, you will never look back and wonder if maybe something should have been done different. The minute I look back on something I have done and feel like something was missing, I know then that I did not set my mind to the task and that I did not let others in, that I did not let things fall where they were supposed to but I tried to control it all myself. That really is the true mistake, the real regret.
            I started out writing this wonder what things I have done badly and why. Wondering what regrets I really had made over my nineteen years. Now I see that the past is a past for a reason. You move on and you let go. All this time I convinced myself I had grown, that I had learned. I think my biggest regret is not the small things in life I wish I could change, but the idea I could live as if nothing should or could change who I am. “Living by no regrets” had stopped me from learning and truly understanding each situation. I was to busy setting a standard for my life that I forgot to really live it, to really feel what it is like to be me.

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