Do Over

Life doesn’t give second chances. I’ve said it before, if you don’t live your life, if you spend it cowering in fear, if you don’t participate when you get to the end you don’t get to go back and do it again.That said, an exercise such as a letter to my younger self can be enlightening or cleansing.Given a do over what would I choose, what would I change.

Would I go away to college? I have always thought that doing that would have changed my life in fundamental ways. Would I have chosen to have addressed my gender dysphoria at an earlier time in my life? That certainly would have changed the outcome.Would I have stayed with Victoria and figured out a way to work it out with the woman I loved more than any other in my life?

There are so many regrets how could I pick just one, having pondered the dilemma of how to choose I was suddenly struck by a common theme. A shortcoming, a deficiency, a glaring weakness that has run through all the serious regret in my life, that would be fear. Fear that sucked the self confidence from me, fear of the unknown, fear of not being in control.

It was fear that made me quit High school with about six weeks left and pass on the opportunity to go away to college. It was fear of the scorn and ridicule that kept me in the closet my entire life. It was the fear of being old and alone that pushed me from Victoria back to the ex wife when she called and said she had changed her mind about separating. There are so many examples. I replay my life and my mind reels at the number of times that fear has prevented me from doing exactly what I wanted, what I knew I wanted.

So what would I change? I would comb through my life hour by hour, minute by minute until I found the moment that fear took charge of my life. I would skip that day, erase that event, go around it, over it or do whatever was necessary to keep fear from taking root.

I believe the result would have been what I experienced at age sixty, when I finally stopped hiding, when I finally stopped being afraid. The birth of happiness the blossoming of joy.

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