I've already mentioned that Saturday night we played a game called Loaded Questions. This is a game where everyone answers a question and the person whose turn it is has to try and guess who answered what. It's a fun game.
One of the questions that came up was What will you be doing in ten years?
I reflexively answered Kicking myself in the ass.
The more I think about it, the more I think I may have answered truthfully. But not for the things you may imagine. Not for the big things. It's the little things that nag at me.
The big, world-shattering mistakes I've made, painful and embarrassing as they were, are what made me what I am today.
Such as I am.
Once the initial discomfort has passed I no longer regret these far-reaching actions any more than I regret breathing.
There are, however, a whole bunch of little stupid and mean things I've done or said (or not done or not said) that I'd really like to forget.
I kick myself in the ass about what a jerk I was to that one girl back in eighth grade. She's certainly forgotten all about me by now, but I could have made her night a lot better than it was.
I kick myself in the ass about being so wrapped up with a new girlfriend that I let my all-time favorite waitress move away from Omaha without even a goodbye - let alone the hug I knew she wanted.
I kick myself in the ass for the way my friend Kelly and I used to turn on our friend Todd and make him go home crying.
Then there are the countless times that I've said the wrong thing to someone that I cared about and ended up starting a fight over it.
You know, I could probably go on for days, listing all of the times I was an asshole to someone. Every time I'm reminded of one of these incidents I'm a little embarrassed for myself. It's hard for me to accept that indeed I was that much of a prick, a shithead, an insensitive pig.
I think the thing is that I'm not that person, and I really never was. Those isolated incidents were just that: isolated. Just because I lied to a girl in the eighth grade doesn't make me a liar. Just because I hit a kid when I was five doesn't make me a bully.
Those things are not me. They're some other guy who's not nearly as nice as I am. I would never behave like that, although I have and probably will again.
The large-scale mistakes are another story entirely. I cannot shrug off the major fuck ups I've had. They are me, and without them I wouldn't be me. I'd be a happier person perhaps, a more content person certainly, but I'd also be so boring that even I couldn't stand to be around myself.
We learn from our mistakes as the saying goes. I wouldn't want to unlearn those lessons or erase those scars. They're me.
Those little things, though, I'll keep kicking myself in the ass over those. They piss me off.