Starting over… I think I am overdue for starting over. My thirties have not been my best years, falling somewhere between EPIC fail and near tragedy. The only thing that has improved in this decade has been the closeness of our family. My wife and our kids have always been close and going through tough times either rips you apart or makes you closer and we have become incredibly close and more resilient than ever. Aside from that, my personal life and goals have either treaded water, going nowhere or in most cases they have gone backwards. I am further from where I want to be with my goals than I was nine years ago. I would like to turn the page on all of this and start over. First though, to get it all out of my system I am going to list my biggest regrets over the past nine years and then forget about them and move forward.
Two months before my thirtieth birthday we were blessed with the birth of our daughter, our youngest. We were living in Pennsylvania, about fifty miles north of Philly. For some god damn reason we thought it would be in our families best interest to move back to the Western New York area so our children would be brought up surrounded by both our extended families. So my wife and I quit our jobs. Jobs that paid us very well and near the end of August we moved back to the city of my childhood. That right there is my biggest regret and our biggest mistake. We had great jobs, a beautiful Cape Cod home, an acre of land and not a neighbor within a quarter mile, it was perfect, but at the time we both missing our families. This one regret snowballed into all the others.
As I said, we were making a decent amount of money in Pennsylvania, while in the Western New York area I was only able to find a job for seven dollars an hour and the same for my wife. Eventually she found an office job and together we made enough to move out of my parents house, where we had living since moving back; about six months. We found a house to rent; unfortunately it was right across from my in-laws (a slight regret- never move directly across from your in-laws.) I lost my job and collected unemployment while trying to find another job. I was not having any luck; I could not even get an interview. This leads to the next set of regrets.
I became depressed, very depressed. I looked like shit and my self-confidence was taking a beating. I was angry most the time and I was not pleasant to be around. My wife gave me an ultimatum, either see a psychiatrist or she and the children were leaving. So I went to see a mindfucker and I was diagnosed as bipolar. This first doctor, sucked big time, he just gave me some pills and told me nothing about bipolar disorder. About a year later I saw another doctor. This started me on the medication merry-go-round and for the next five years I was a hot fucking mess. At one point I was taking two dozen pills a day. All of these pills I was taking had some dramatic effects on me; like now my moods were constantly changing sometime several times a day, I gained over sixty pounds, my mind was complete and utter mush. During this time I was put on permanent disability, not because of bipolar, but because of the effects from the pills. Eventually all the pills lead to some very serious side effect; vertigo and colitis among them. The worst thing the pills did to me was they made me unable to feel, I was a flat line emotionally and I could not live like that. One day, after spending a night in the hospital, I came home and flushed all my pills. My regrets during this five year period- letting myself be a human guinea pig, not being an advocate for myself (I just kind of let this all happen), costing my wife a job she enjoyed, and how my medicine induced behavior affected my children.
The next regret happened during the five years of medicine. The house we were living in across from my in-laws was small and we were a bedroom short. When my daughter was a baby we shared our room with her and it was fine. The day was coming that she would need her own room, so we started looking for a bigger place. Through a parent at our son’s early education program we found a place. One of the parents was moving out of a place and she was looking for someone to move in. It was a big three bedroom house, with a fenced yard; it seemed perfect for our family. It was even “rent to own” which we thought was the greatest thing in the world. What “rent to own” really meant was, that anything that went wrong was our responsibility, no utilities were paid, and everything was on us. This placed turned into a nightmare that has only gotten worse with time. The next door neighbor is a certified nutjob and all around asshole. We have been living here for almost seven years and his behavior has only gotten worse towards us. This year alone, he called CPS on us (for no reason), had the city make us take our pool down, and tried to gets us in trouble with the dog warden. We used to have friends in the neighborhood, but this year we just have not been as friendly. In our hearts we know we are leaving this area and we just do not feel like faking it. The regret here is that we moved into this house, into this neighborhood and it has at times been unbearable.
Next regret on the list- this one I somewhat have an excuse reason for, but a regret is a regret is a regret. Two months after flushing all those pills and going from taking a lot pills to giving them up cold turkey I started going to college. It was going great, at the midpoint of the semester my lowest grade was a ninety-two. With about four weeks left I got one of those bad, pain in the ass head colds that makes your mind feel like sludge. About two weeks later I got over the cold, but I fell behind and never caught up. The funny thing is that it was the college composition that really threw me off. I love writing; I had a ninety-eight in this class, but the research paper was killing me. So with two weeks left I just stopped going. Somehow I still passed my accounting class. Because of those bad grades I am having trouble returning for my third semester, but hopefully I will get that straightened out this week.
A few regrets that are lifelong and ongoing- inability to finish things I start, taking on more than I can handle, setting unrealistic goals, being unorganized, letting circumstances control me instead of taking control of them… and I am sure many more. Like every person I am a work in progress and still believe I have something good to offer. My confidence has definitely been shaken, but not destroyed. I will overcome myself, because at this point I can honestly say I have been the biggest obstacle to achieving my goals.
So the immediate goal is getting back into school and completing my degree. The second goal is moving back to Pennsylvania, and getting a job. Starting over will be easy, I am basically back at square one; I am letting go of my regrets and moving forward. Going forward I am choosing happy and remaining positive.