Thursday, February 7, 2013

Shoulda Woulda Coulda.....


Warning.....I'm in my melancholy mood.  And I'm listening to my melancholy playlist #2 on my iPod, which means it's really bad.

And yes, for once I have put a picture of myself on the blog.  (For some reason I can't get it un-yellow.  It's not an old picture--- I think the flash just didn't go off.)

Okay, here it is.

Have you ever looked back into your past and recalled one pivotal decision you made that affected your life forever---for the worst?  Have you ever wished you could just go just one moment in time.....and made a different decision?  Have you ever yearned for the chance to undo everything and get a "do-over"?

I've been having those yearnings lately.  I am so sad.  I don't know if this is a bipolar thing or else a mid-life crisis.

When I was in my 20's I lived in Washington, D.C.   I was just playing around, hadn't gone to nursing to school yet.  After skipping two grades in school, I had gone on and gotten my undergraduate degree from California Polytechnic State University and had moved to D.C. since my parents happened to be living there instead of overseas for once.  I didn't know what to do with myself.  My parents were against nursing school (I don't think they thought I was mature enough) and so, since I could type 120 words a minute, I went to work at a famous law firm a few blocks from the White House called Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin & Kahn.

It was fun from the start.  I met the two best friends I've ever had in my whole entire life, Lynne and Patty.  For several years we had our adventures in D.C., running all over the place with boyfriends coming and going.  We were all three good for each other.  Patty was the irreverent funny one---she could crack you up in a New York minute.  Lynn  was the good-head-on-her-shoulders one.  She would bring Patty and me down to earth when we got a little too crazy.  And yes, I was the crazy one---but so far still an entertaining nut.  I wasn't having too many bipolar problems in those days, thank God.  Or if I did, I'd recover sooner.

And my boyfriend, Emry, was the love of my life.  I moved in with him after I got tired of living with a boring lawyer.  He was a paralegal.  And he joined our threesome as a buddy and so did all his male friends.  We had the most wonderful social group in our entire lives.

And then it all changed.

Emry and I moved to Pittsburgh.  He proceeded to get his Master's Degree in Business at Carnegie Mellon University (and totalled my beautiful red Camaro.)  I entered a diploma nursing school, the adventures of which I wrote about in my old blog, in four parts spread out between other blog posts.  (Here's the first has a slow and boring beginning.)

And I didn't return to D.C.  I moved to Texas with my parents, who were retiring due to my father's state of dying from alcoholism-related complications.  (I won't actually tell you who my parents worked for but let's just say it was an agency that you're not allowed to admit that you work for it.)  Anyway, I watched my father die an awful death.  I told the doctor not to tell him he was terminal but the asshole doctor told him anyway.  I screamed loud and long at that doctor, telling him that I hoped that when he was old and was about to die that he'd have a doctor who'd take away his hope like he'd taken my father's.  And thus, that's how it came to be that my father's last words to me before his death were:  "You have disappointed me".  Think I can forget that?  Nope.  I will hear it for the rest of my life.

(I wish I would have retorted:  "What else is new?" )

My mother returned to work for the government (uh...the same agency), and living overseas, after my father's tragic death---don't ask me to talk about that any more---and that's when she went to be the assistant of a family friend, the ultra famous Ryan Crocker and we all almost lost our lives in Damascus, Syria, when anti-American forces stormed our Embassy---which I am to understand that the rebel forces have recently blown to bits along with the rest of Damascus and half of Syria.

And Lynn went to school to be a paralegal.  And Patty rose up through the ranks in the law firm and ended up taking a paralegal job at another law firm in D.C.  Lynn finished paralegal school and went to work for a law firm across the street from Patty---but they are no longer close.

Emry worked various jobs all over the country but has now settled in D.C. once more--- in a job he hates after a bitter divorce.

And me.  I began my odyssey of madness and a nursing career in Texas.  I won't bore you with the particulars but I will tell you that, surprise surprise, I was the best of the best nurses----whodathunkit----but my personal life was a flat out disaster.  And my bipolar disease gradually got worse and worse for me.  I finally had to quit working after a 22 year career as an RN.

And now Patty and Emry and Lynn and I talk only via text messages or emails.  And all of us agree that we should never have left each other.  We were so good together in those days.  We were good checks and balances for each other.

And how did we turn out?  I think I would have been much more mentally stable had I stayed with that support group.  Although Emry is in D.C., he is in a job that he feels is unsatisfying due to bad decisions after he and I parted ways and he left DC for a bunch of years.  Lynn is a busy paralegal and still has a kid living at home.  Patty is lonely---her marriage broke up and she has two grown up children who don't live with her.  She has not found love again.

And I am on disability for mental illness.  Lovely.  What a stigma.

Oh God...God please?......Put me back in time so I can make a different decision, please?  I would do better, I promise.  I should have returned to D.C. after nursing school and picked back up with Lynn and Patty. 

Oh......shoulda woulda coulda.......

And oh yeah.....I finished my red Jelly Beanz socks.  




  1. Bo, what a great pic! I've always wondered what you look like.

    And brace yourself for some unsolicited (but kindly intended) advice.

    First, not a lick of good ever came from looking back like that. The good news is, you still have contact with those special people, and if you all wish it there is no reason you can't establish closer friendships with each other in the now.
    Second, you've just had major surgery, and your body is coping with that PLUS the heavy duty pain meds that came along with it. That combo is brutal on your sense of wellbeing and just about everything else. Be gentle with yourself. and practice good self care.
    Lastly, put your socks on. The red ones you just finished. Nothing beats the blues like a good dose of red.
    And hang in there. Remember you are loved.

    Whew, that was long winded. Sorry. Take what you can and leave the rest.



    1. Carrie! THANK YOU so much! You have totally cheered me up and you make total sense. I really appreciate it---you have no idea!

    2. And I took your advice and put my red socks on!

  2. I am convinced that our middle years are for mulling over regrets, and if we are very lucky, making peace with them. Finding a way to forgive ourselves for our past mistakes. And if we are very very lucky, an olive branch of forgiveness from those we regret hurting the most. When this happens, if it happens, is one of the greatest feelings of relief and rightness in the world. So look backward in remembrance, but look forward. We cannot change the past, but we CAN learn from it and make more wise choices in our future. Peace!

    1. Thank you kris---your words have a lot of wisdom.

  3. Anonymous---I didn't get your comment on the blog---but I did get it in my email. Thank you very much!

    You wrote:

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I
    clicked submit my comment didn't appear. Grrrr... well I'm not
    writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say fantastic blog!