Regret, thoughts of the past, and feeling underwhelmed by how your life has played out are feelings we all experience from time to time. I used to be full of regret, anger, bitterness, and sadness due to how my life played out in my youth. Your youth can be an uncertain time because so much of your life is out of your control compared to adulthood, you are relying more on your parents and their decisions.
For anyone that has had the chance to know me, you know that my youth was not a fun time. I grew up in a backwater southern city with lots of poverty, crime, and trashiness around me. Anyone who wants to do anything with their lives tends to move out of that place. Add to that, I had parents that were overbearing and did not let me do the fun things other kids did.
My college experience? What were supposed to be the “best four years” of life? Well, that was one depressing walk through being socially rejected and being an outcast who could not fit in with the well off privileged kids. Due to starting out at a commuter campus, mainly because of my mom successfully pushing me towards it, and then transferring; I had a tough time socially. Depressing and suicidal thoughts consumed what were supposed to be the best four years of my life and some of my circumstances were due to what my parents had put me through. I did not get to take part in any of the fancy spring break trips, fun summers, partying a lot at frat houses, or working as a bartender in a fun college town.
None of it went like it was supposed to, none of it went according to plan. Even after college, when my family was pressing me to go to grad school, I was unemployed and miserable living at home for around 8 months. Then I caught my lucky break and things started looking up for me in life, the period of the next three to five years would see me move to NYC and have some of the most fun moments of my life. I was still bitter though, I wish I had a fulfilling youth and a college experience like those suburban kids which included fun and community.
Then it hit me, what if it did go according to plan? Where would I be right now?
What if I had a “normal” upbringing which included growing up in the suburbs, having a decent high school experience, going to a fun state school, getting a bid for a decent fraternity, having the “best four years” of my life, and then having a job lined up after I graduated?
When we think about what could have been, we only think about the most ideal scenario from that. Yes, I would have likely had fun in my youth and had a better youth. I would have probably been a lot less bitter and a lot less depressed in my early-twenties as a result. I’d have lost my virginity sooner and probably dated a couple cute girls in my school days. My social media page would have had a lot more followers and I would have felt more of a community with friends.
My job would have likely been a 9 to 5 or something very common with limited earnings. The stability would have been there, maybe I would have gone to grad school or professional school.
At the same time, I would have likely met a girl in college that I clicked really well with and a couple years after graduation, married her. Then I would have tried to buy a house and moved into the suburbs with her around the age of twenty-five. After that, I would have probably woken up as I approached thirty and wonder what more I could have done with my life. Then again, the social pull of my environment would have very likely caused me to not bother to take risks in my twenties and my most fun days would have been behind me.
I recently had a call with an old friend who in many ways had it made in his youth; we’ll call him Ryan. Ryan went to a private school, had a great time, then went off to a top 20 public university with a great party scene, rushed a fraternity, had a blast, and a couple years after graduation married his college sweetheart; Lindsay. Me and Ryan met at church when we were both around 12 years old.
Ryan calls me and tells me how lost in life he is and how much he feels like he messed up rushing into marriage. All the goals he had of traveling, starting his own business, and moving to a new city are on the back-burner because he married young. In many ways, Ryan thought college was as good as it was going to get for him, he thought after college the fun in life ended. When he saw how some people were traveling the world, moving to new cities, and making big moves; he said it broke him and he broke down on the phone crying to me because of the financial burden of marriage…..
I never expected to see this from a guy who I thought had a perfect life in many ways. So what if I had the same path?
Millennial Bachelor as you know it, would not have existed.
I would have never moved to the most fun and important city in the world (NYC for any of you wondering), partied in some of the finest nightclubs, made some of the most fun friends, gone to some of the most fun parties, slept with beautiful women from various countries, and had stories to tell. I’d have never developed the boldness, courage, and independence to make friends out of the blue and have fun night after fun night.
A number of my friends from college, and I use the word friends lightly (more like just colleagues), have seen my stories on social media and have wanted to talk to me more. I know a lot of kids who had it made in college and when they moved to a new city, they had a very tough time making new friends and branching out from their social circles. A number of them who vaguely knew me would often cut in at bars when I was talking to a couple of cute girls.
Due to how easy these guys had it in their youth, they had a tough time adjusting to struggles. Often times, they were guys who quickly moved back home from a new city and went to their old place of comfort. Being uncomfortable was not for them and they quickly abandoned hopes of any prestige, glory, fun, or the high life after realizing how much work it took.
My struggles and misfortune in my youth prepared me for life and allowed me to adjust to the changing times, even having fun with them.
The years spent alone indoors in college allowed me to adjust well to lockdowns and working from home while others I know went crazy. While other men were desperate for marriage, I adjusted to the changing times where people get married much later in life. While other men were unfamiliar with cold approach and relied on social circle their whole lives, I had many avenues to meet women. Being out of a closed environment like college benefitted me while hurting men who rely on social circles a lot.
In some ways, I am still a bit angry and upset at how my life played out. I wish I had a better youth and I did envy those kids who had it made. After seeing how things have played out over the years though, I would not change places with them at all anymore.
If it all went according to plan, the plan would have been that the fun in my life would end by 30. In other words, on this Thanksgiving, I am thankful that it did not go according to plan.