Life, regret and survival (Or something like that)

There is a part of me, at my age, that wonders what the rest of my life will be like.  There are days when I wonder what I am doing and there are days when I know exactly what I want.  And then there are days when I look at my parents and go “Hell no.”

Fifteen years ago, I was 39.  I decided to take a flyer and move to face the unknown.  Moved to a small town in Northwest Wisconsin to be with a woman whom I thought would love me and give me some measure of respect from those I was leaving behind.  It was so fast and weird that I sometimes wonder if it happened at all.  But it did.  And I have had to live with the consequences and regret of not understanding or knowing the hurt I inflicted on myself and others in the aftermath of my nine month Odyssey.

I think sometimes we see ourselves differently than others see us.  Or rather, how others see us.  I have always felt I was being viewed as a joke.  The butt of, not being taken seriously, of being the punch line.  I have been accused of being things that I’m not, of not being worthy of anything because of my choices.  Whether it was what I looked like  (“disheveled” is my favorite), my attitude ( “does not make friends,” “angry”, “self-serving”, and my favorite, from my step-mom, “Kent, you’re the most cynical person I have ever known.  You were cynical at 10 when I first met you and you’re even more cynical now.” I took it as a compliment), to the way I act, to my many failings with women.  I have been laughed at, rejected, threatened, and even driven to the brink by someone who “knew me” in my youth.

Somehow, I have survived all that and now can say what happened to me in that period of time has made me more honest and less trusting of anyone, male or female, whom I don’t know.  I trust those who come through for me, those who accept me for my faults and still love and care about me.  Do folks lie?  Like my dead dog.  I look back on my journey and experience not with anger, but with regret the kind that Aeschylus spoke of, where regret morphs into wisdom through the “awful grace of God.”

The best thing I can say is that I learned a valuable lesson.  That, as an adult, you can’t find unconditional love unless it’s through a child or an animal.  There are always conditions.  The fact that I was used in the manner of which I was isn’t the point anymore.  I allowed it to happen and I paid a price beyond money and loss could ever calculate is immeasurable in real terms.  I look at it as a hoax, a not-so-elaborate one that I couldn’t see it coming, but could do nothing to stop it.  One of the last things I said to her was this:  I don’t care that you lied to me.  You lied to my mother. ”

In the immediate aftermath, I hurt a lot of people and some have never forgiven me for that.  I “lived” at a motel 6 for almost a year, went through Bankruptcy, was badgered and hounded by people who I thought loved me.  Drifted and worked dead-end jobs in an attempt to sustain some sense of dignity. Between 1999 and 2004, I lived in seven different places, for a while, all I had for an address was a Post Office Box.  I got kicked out of one place just for having a window open and another place for who-knows what.

Along that journey, I learned something about myself.  Once you become aware of your mistakes and look back at them and say, “Geeze, what was I thinking?” Or better yet, the way Danny DeVito  put it in “The Big Kahuna”, “It’s when you discover them, when you see the folly in something you’ve done, and you wish that you had it do over, but you know you can’t, because it’s too late. So you pick that thing up, and carry it with you to remind you that life goes on, the world will spin without you, you really don’t matter in the end. Then you will gain character, because honesty will reach out from inside and tattoo itself across your face.”

I am older.  I am settled.  I know who I can count on and how much bullshit I can put up with.  I realize I am not perfect or without faults or a dark side.  I have no illusions or visions of grandeur any more.  I wish people were more accepting of me, and my life, but that’s their problem, not mine.  Do I still have dreams and aspirations?  Of course I do, but they are tempered with my reality and my limitations.


As much as I hope it will happen, my reality is quite different.  As The Keeper on Talos IV reminds Captain Kirk of Commodore Pike’s condition “Pike has an illusion, and you have reality. May you find your way as pleasant.”


8 Responses to “Life, regret and survival (Or something like that)”

  1. Dan Riley Says:

    Kent, blogging gets mocked quite a bit for being a breeding ground for narcissism, but it’s a fine line between narcissism and self-discovery, and I think you are well on the right side of that line here. If everyone who had a blog could be this honest about themselves, the world would be a better place. Stay on the journey, guy.

    • sharondymond Says:

      What Dan says, I too am acutely sensitive to the narcissism v. self-discovery tightrope. Your balance seems just about perfect.

      Here’s a poem I love called Compassion by Miller Williams:

      Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it. What seems conceit, bad manners or cynicism is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen. You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone.

  2. rollingwheelie Says:

    Dan, thank you for that. I am not the greatest person in the world and am not narcissistic enough to think I am. I’ll leave that to Alex Rodriguez. Am I still angry about what happened? Yes. Do I care about those who screwed me over? No. My “Moment of Clarity” over this came about 10 years ago at a reunion. A friend of mine said “Not everyone does things for other’s benefit.” And this guy, a nice guy, but not the brightest bulb in the package, in that moment made me realize that all the self-loathing in the world wasn’t going to change anything. And that fine line is about making it a universal story. There are a million stories in the Naked City, mine is just one. As I remarked yesterday, being noble and obligated gets you into more trouble than being a dick and walking (or rolling, in my case) away.

    • sharondymond Says:

      “As I remarked yesterday, being noble and obligated gets you into more trouble than being a dick and walking (or rolling, in my case) away.”

      Great observation, Kent, and an area where I need reminders being reared as I was for martyrdom.

      Few are more despicable than the those who relish the role of more sinned against than sinning.

  3. sharondymond Says:

    “Fifteen years ago, I was 39.” A mere pup, Kent. Nice post.

  4. rollingwheelie Says:

    A mere pup, Sharon? LOL And we are all martyr’s for a cause. Even Rick Blaine realized that. It just depends on which side wins (or survives).

  5. Lisa Rycus Says:

    Kent, We have traveled on many parallel paths over the years, many people have no idea how challenging my life has been since I turned 29. You have the right attitude we just have to move forward. Yes I have made many relationship mistakes, more than I even care to think about and I try not to! Yes it has been one of those….”What the f**k was I thinking moments!!! Bankruptcy…yes! The move to Denver was one of those decisions that I question but I made it I have to live with it and make the best of it. Yes as you know I have hit some rough spots and I appreciate your concern and being there for me on FB. You are not alone my friend, I know at times that does not make a difference but I do get it. Hugs L

    • rollingwheelie Says:

      Lisa, hang in there. We don’t get to this stage of life without a few detours, “I told you so’s” and rejections. So much of our lives are based on what others do, people who we may never know, that if we ever found out the truth, we’d end up drinking the drano.

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