Have you ever been overcome with so much emotion, it manifested itself into a physical reaction?
Yesterday I went to my alma-mater’s Homecoming game (we have no football team, so the homecoming is for basketball and so in January). As I was in my car, getting to leave the parking lot after the game, I noticed some students parked next to me leaving as well. There was about five of them, four girls and a boy. They were loading their belongings into the car, laughing and talking.
Today I was reflecting on yesterday and for some reason, this particular moment stood out to me. I began to think of my time in high school, and what I had done on previous homecoming days. I’m pretty sure for my first one, I didn’t even go. For my second one, I believe we won in double overtime. The third homecoming, I played in the game before the boy’s game (I had made varsity that year). The last one, I know I went, and only remember being ecstatic about my class winning Spirit Week.
I then began thinking about what I hadn’t done in past Homecoming days. I hadn’t gone out afterwards with friends like those students I saw next to me (at least, I assumed they were going to hang out together). I never really did hang out with my friends outside of school, unless it was for a specific event, such as someone’s birthday. A wave of emotion hit me. It was a mixture of nostalgia, wistfulness, compunction, but most of all, remorse. Remorse for what could have been, remorse for what never was. Remorse for all those nights sitting at home on my computer, investigating the world but never experiencing it often enough with people whose company I enjoyed.
Don’t be mistaken, I was not filled with regret that I stayed in too much, rather, I am rueful that I didn’t go out more.
I’m a homebody and introvert by nature. If you know me, you know this. I’m not a good small-talker and awkward when meeting new people, although I have come a long way. In high school, I stayed in for a variety of reasons outside of my introversion- my friends lived in town at least forty minutes away by car, I didn’t drive, and the fastest commute into town by bus would take an hour, nevermind transferring to the exact place my friends were at. Also, for three years ball was literally life. If I wasn’t in school, doing homework, or wasting away my hours on Tumblr, I was in practice, on my way to practice, at games, leaving games, at team bonding… etc, etc. Athletics, at any level, is time-consuming, especially when you have at least a small desire not to suck.
My point is, it’s not like I didn’t go out simply because I was a hermit/hated people/had no friends. I was none of these things, and yet, I didn’t go out. And this gave me pains in my soul today that I put my hand to my chest and gulped for air, realizing the moments that never will be.
Even more importantly, I thought about my life now as a college student. Do I go out? Nope. I haven’t been to a college party, sipped on a Drink, or been in a relationship. I haven’t done 2am ice cream runs or even pulled an all-nighter cramming for finals. Am I destined to repeat my high school tendencies, only to look back two years later and regret the choices that I’ve made?
Am I working hard for a good life? Or am I missing a good life working hard?