I must be the only person in the world that cried at the end of Hot Tub Time Machine. I sat there with my husband and friend laughing at me in an understanding way as I poured out my feelings of bewilderment and regret. How was I sitting on my sofa two days past my 34th birthday having barely survived two strokes, four pancreas attacks and a debilitating virus under my belt, and a mysterious neurological condition still plaguing my present (Fibromyalgia)? I flashed back to my own high-school and college years and marveled at the road I've traveled. My childhood was unprincipled and colorful and I grew into a wild youth who began self-medicating at the crest of puberty. Always pushing the envelope of acceptable, I put my parents through hell and strove to define myself in the extremes during my teenage years. I was drinking and smoking and doing those crazy things inexperience tells you its okay to do, breaking curfew and sneaking out and being willfully disobedient. How they still love me is by the grace of God, that unconditional parental love thing or something.
Thankfully my family had the foresight to help send me on a trip to Europe the summer between my junior and senior years of high-school, a trip that changed my life. I worked hard and saved up, quitting my shopping habit and ripping off my long fake fingernails in exchange for the exotic unknown of a month abroad. It gave me exposure to the world, languages, cultures, ways of living, perceptions, experiences...a whole different future. I went home with a stick up my ass, thumbing my nose at my friends running around middle-class suburbia in their cigarette-smoke steeped flannel shirts, getting high at their Nirvana grunge parties. I thought I was so beyond them. I was worldly now, had tasted it and wanted more. My senior year of high school found me different. Stepping away from my wayward party friends I decided I actually wanted to know some people at my 10-year reunion. I joined yearbook and went to senior ball, doing all those quintessential things high-school memories are made of. Stumbling off to a premier party school, college was an excessive indulgence of frat-house kegers and buck night at the bars. This continued on until pancreatitis caught my attention, well past graduation. Since then it has been a constant battle to allow myself to feel and survive the emotions without itching to dull the pain, the sheer pain of what simply feeling means to me.
So as I watched this group of jack-ass guys, miserable 20 years after youth had launched, bumbling around back in time like moronic teenagers, I saw how much what was becomes what is. I became overwhelmed with feelings of regret and remorse. Have I done this to myself? Did I cause these serious health problems during my youth of excess that are now manifesting themselves in my still very young body? Lots of people do far worse than I did, so why me? And if so, knowing what I know now, would I have done it any different? So as the tears sprung I poured out my heart. I know the one right thing I have done in my life was marry my husband, and our relationship was born from this youth I want so badly to regret, to blame. As I settled down I concluded that no, most likely I would not have done one damn thing different. Youth is dumb, pain is real, and all I can do now is pray by the grace of God I can find the path I was created to follow, step on and go for that ride. I am sick of being in the drivers seat.
Thanks for joining,
This blog was originally published on 8/6/10. I was very confused and emotional and had yet to experience what the treatment for these strokes would do to me.