Sunday, January 06, 2008

No regrets

After my guitar lesson, Saturday, I had lunch with my cousin. I've been helping him with his college application essay and I have been trying to encourage him in what he wants to pursue, since many in my family have doubts about the practicality of his path. I've been there. My family is almost rigidly blue collar and if someone wants to do something that doesn't require a "useful" or needed skill, then it lacks importance and you're stupid. (I'm very proud of my blue-collar background, btw. Hard, honest work is something to be praised.)

His brother went to a prestigious university and majored in what he thought he should, because everyone influencing said he should. He didn't even finish the first semester. He's artistic and creative. His major was anything but.

In his high school graduation card I wrote that he should always follow what is in his heart and to just always do his best, then that way, he would never be disappointed in himself. I knew he had a lot of pressure on him.

Now, he is in a different college, in Philly, studying more artistic ventures and how the business end is connected to them. He's happy, and that's what is important.

When I was sitting with his little brother, yesterday, I pulled out three pictures of what I was like before he was born.

It made me think about all the decisions and paths I've taken the past 20 or so years. They may not have always turned out as I had hoped or thought they would, but I have no regrets. I wouldn't be who I am if I didn't follow my dreams, whims, and heart.

No one died because of my actions and decisions, no one's life was screwed up, and even though things didn't always go right, I always used them as stepping stones to something else.

I hope my cousin realizes the importance of that as he begins to navigate adulthood.

I think we worry too much about absolute success and not enough about enjoying our lives and just learning from our experiences. You just have to say, "This is how it is," and go forward.

There is beauty to be found in imperfection.

5 comments:

USA_Admiral said...

I hope he understands the wisdom you are imparting. I wish someone had talked to me like this all those years ago when I was 17 and dropping out of high school. I figured that my life was going to be over after I dropped out. I stagnated and could not hold a job for 2 years and went to the Air Force recruiter. He said no Diploma/GED, no enlistment. Then I realized what I had done.

You are the best for taking the time to help him! Some day he will remember it.

Deathlok said...

You're Awesome. Education is paramount. I always tell people (including my kids) you can make a living doing anything if you put your mind to it and try to be the best at it.

Look at Tony Hawk.

Whatever your career path, choose wisely, it's a long time before retirement.

RT said...

Admiral:
I quit high school my senior year. Sometimes I do wonder what my life would be like had I taken my basketball coach's advice--stayed in sports throughout high school, graduate with a scholarship to college. Eventually I went to college, though. However, since I can't change the past, I have to remind myself that the world won't end if I didn't take the route everyone else thought was "proper."

Deathlok:
Sometimes I think we are too busy trying to "be" something rather than enjoying being ourselves and allowing who we are to create what we are.

Ssssteve said...

I agree, I hope he understands and appreciates your advice! Good stuff RT. And remember... NO REGRETS! Every morning begins a new day with no mistakes in it

RT said...

He's a great kid.

Each day is a nice, clean blank slate. :)