Sometimes life seems to just run up and kick us square in the nuts. No warning. No apology. No lesson learned. Nothing but pain and the persistent question “why?” Lately I’ve been feeling a lot like this.
I like to think I needed to come to prison. In fact, I truly believe that if I hadn’t come here I’d have ended up doing more time or worse for something else (no one really knows how off I was). But over the past month I’ve been frequently harassed by regret and the what ifs. I just keep thinking about words left unspoken and potential opportunities missed.
Before I got arrested I had been slowly getting into a more peaceful lifestyle, and the night of the arrest I was a week from moving far away from everything and virtually everyone I knew. Had I not committed my crime, maybe I would have matured in time to save myself from the life sentence or death I was headed towards. I watch TV and listen to the radio and can’t help feeling this overwhelming sadness about what my life could be right now. Would I have met the amazing woman I constantly picture and be the father I can’t wait to become. Would I have gotten into music like I’d always dreamed of doing, or started one of the several businesses I’ve often thought about – and in a few cases seen succeed. Would I live in Hawaii like I used to imagine or be traveling the world like I hope to still eventually do.
A big part of the reason for my recent blues is a lingering knee problem that has me mourning my youth. Pretty soon I’ll be 30, without having spent a second of my twenties outside prison, and everything appears determined to convince me that I lost the best years of my life. Sometimes I believe it. I mean, I’ll still be able to do pretty much all the stuff I want to when I get out in eight years, but for how long, and how well. My athleticism will be seriously diminished by then (which is a shame because I love and am good at sports) and the onset of decreasing mental acuity will be right over the hill. Best case scenario: I enjoy an above average decline.
I know things could be worse – we all do. Unfortunately, however, that reality is too often a whisper alongside the blaring fact that things could also be better. But I’ll never know those opportunities nor the heights I might have otherwise reached. I chose to sacrifice a healthy chunk of the gifts God gave me and all I can do now is capitalize on what’s left.
Keep boxing temptation and chasing your dreams.
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