What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made? I’ve been trying to think of mine recently. I can think of a lot of things I’m ashamed of doing, and a lot of things that were stupid to do, but what have I done that really messed up my life irrevocably?
When I was a young, foolish knave of a high school senior, I applied really randomly to colleges. Throwing a dart at a list of schools blindfolded would have probably created more of a pattern. I visited approximately one school. When it came time to choose which to go to, I just chose the one that gave me the best scholarship. I didn’t actually set foot on campus until orientation.
Mistake. While my randomly selected roommates were thankfully some of the most awesome individuals I’ve met, I was a crying, mopey mess. The University of Albany was a great school, academically… just it needed to NOT be in Albany. I shivered as the sun set earlier and earlier everyday. If I managed to see a speck of blue sky before the gray clouds claimed dominance for the day, I considered it to be a victorious day. I SAVED HOMEWORK SO I WOULD HAVE SOMETHING TO DO ON THE WEEKEND.
I shuffled after my roommates to the parties off-campus, that were all in a dilapidated, falling down area known as “the student ghetto”. Signs were posted on every other building, requesting information on the student who had been shot dead the year before. As I tried to choke down a solo cup of cheap beer, I was hyperaware of every bump and footfall. There were the preteens that jumped around a corner at 2 am, mooning us before running off (okay, that was kind of funny, but who lets their kids out that late?). And there were the two gaunt and pale, wide eyed little girls who trailed after their Eminem look-a-like father. He eyed us up and down, muttering lecherously under his breath.
This was certainly not Kansas, Toto. But it just as certainly wasn’t Oz, either.
I ended up going to the weekly mass that was held in the campus center. It became the one social thing to do that wasn’t partying on the weekends, aside from our exciting trips to Walmart. Mass actually was a good experience. With them, I volunteered at the local domestic violence women and children’s center. Honestly, Albany wasn’t a terrible experience 100%, but it was a classic “me mistake”.
There’s not really a point to this. My general optimistic spaciness mixed with neurosis leads me to make snap decisions. Then I get entrapped and tangled up in complications that everyone but me foresaw. And then I cry and mope and freak out like a spaz because I’m like, the biggest idiot ever and RUINING EVERYTHING EVER.
Usually things aren’t really that dismal.
I need to remind myself that there are countless ways to live a life, and it’s always okay to take a breath when I’m lost in life’s woods and can’t find my way out. It’s okay turn around, and backtrack, and find another path through the forest.