It's wise to not spend too long wallowing in the shadow of regret; that sad, unproductive beast which eats away at all the loveliness in life, tainting memories and shining a sorry light on our accomplishments or lack thereof. But low and behold, I am a human being of many feelings and that beastly figure often creeps up on me more often than I care to entertain it; me in my mid-twenties, my prime, the time to shine the world on my oyster* and all that jazz. Who am I to have regrets when I have the world at my feet?
I tell you for why I have regrets, now i'm not talking teenage-me gets so blind drunk she falls off a St Patricks Day float regret. I'm talking great big huffing, face palming, wanting to give myself a swift kick in the shin on a regular basis regret. Let's rip this off plaster-style - my dear Dad passed away unexpectedly when I was 19, halfway through my first year studying for a degree in fine art and graphic design and from that point on things went pretty much tits-up. A downward spiral occurred, which involved plenty of boozing and not nearly enough attending of lectures. After a second bash at a deferred first year I dropped out and sunk into a state of depression. My old man had gone for good and with him so had my dreams of being the first in my family to graduate whilst paving my way to a dream creative career.
After a while, things got easier and my mental instability gave way to something similar to productivity. I pulled myself together, brought in the pennies pulling pints in Birmingham and eventually got myself onto a digital marketing apprenticeship, taking that meander down a new career path. Fast forward six years and here I am, working a solid 9-5 in marketing, paying bills and separating the recycling like one of those adult people.
But - oh hello - is that you, my old friend 'regret'? Knocking on my door once again? Still asking me 'Why did you give up?', 'Why did you let the inevitable occurences of life ruin your dreams?' 'Why are you here? - Filling spreadsheets and collating price lists when you could be out there swimming in the colourful life you were always convinced you'd live, paint-splattered and pain free?'
It's easy for me to say that pondering regretful thoughts is a waste of energy. But of course we all know that these kind of endeavours are easier said than done. The idea of returning to university has been in and out of my brain like a whack-a-mole in recent years. Just to pick up where I left off and indulge myself in a world of art, knowledge and new ideas; what a delight that would be!
However, an estimated £50,000 worth of debt? Do I take the step back and take the financial risk? That remains to be seen and probably something i'll be playing whack-a-mole with for quite a while, but for the time being i'm endeavouring to make everyday as bold and creative as can be. (excluding the times I intend on rotting on the sofa with a Greys Anatomy binge lined up.)
I won't kid myself and say that the beast is out of my life for good, but I know for sure that giving the finger to regret is so much easier now than it used to be. My mental health has and I imagine will be a struggle for most of my adult life, but since i've stopped allowing it to consume me and started filling my time with the finer things in life* i've come to view it as just a manageable chunk of my own fabulous identity.
Hi, i'm Lisa and welcome to Wild Athena 🤘
*No innuendo intended
*My crazy, sexy friends, the damn finest man in Birmingham, making art as often as possible, loud angry music and a good quiz, amongst other notable things.