If you’re new here, I’ve been publishing something or another on my birthday each year since I turned 24. You can find these here: 24, 25, 26, and now 27!
We all have choices
The other day I was thinking about this kid that would bully me a fair bit back in middle school. He would harass me most mornings when we waited for class to start or say whatever shitty thing he could muster up to push my buttons.
And who was I to push back? A scrawny kid from the east coast who could count his friends on one hand? My best bet was to leave this one to karma and press on. I had a myriad of other demons to battle that were far scarier than him, anyway.
A few years after graduating college I saw him stocking shelves at the grocery store near my old house and mentioned it to a friend. My friend informed me that apparently, he had encountered an extreme amount of self-incurred turbulence after high school. I thought that this would make me feel better, for my prayers had been answered and karma’s heavy hand had finally caught up to him.
But it didn’t make me feel better. I think I would have been happier to find out that he had woken up one morning and realized the gravity of poor decisions. I like to think that in an alternate universe, we probably could have been friends. We likely had more in common than I’d like to admit.
I’m sure he was hard on people because the world was hard on him. And equally, I’m sure I have been hard on people because the world had been hard on me.
I guess that reduces us all down to choices. I never was one to host much spirituality in my life but I do always maintain some level of faith that most things work themselves out in the end if you keep pushing forward, treating your peers well, and staying true to a path that you’re proud of.
Much like my bully, I’ve made any number of choices that I’m not proud of and will surely continue to fall flat on my face. Choices that have led to strained relationships, hardship, and unanswered questions. But that’s the past and all of us can only work on what’s in front of us.
The beauty of life is that we’re all given the opportunity to reorient at a moment’s notice. It doesn’t matter what your brain chemistry thinks or whether you’ve been wronged time and time again. We’re all dealt different decks but the game is invariably the same. Work hard to preserve making choices you’re proud of.
That’s a lot of what my life has been like over the last year. I’m working hard to make choices that I’m proud of and reorienting has been paying dividends: I feel happier and healthier. I feel closer to those who matter. I’m catching stride in my career and have been finding a lot of comfort in my new home. I’m certainly not without my mistakes, but I’m told that’s all a part of being human.
Anyways, that’s about all I have to say about that. Here’s to 27!
Wishing you and yours the best,
You have a real gift of writing. You should publish someday! I never knew that about your middle school experience. I’m sorry to hear that but so proud of how you chose to use it as a growth experience. Lots of love!