“There are no second acts in America.” –F. Scott Fitzgerald
Since I’ve left Dallas, I’ve been thinking about regret and experience and what the difference is. I imagine they can be one and the same but “experience” just has a positive connotation where the word “regret” can be doused with guilt and unresolved feelings about whatever occurred. The negative outlook seems to win out many times. A lot of people like to say that you should not have regrets because then you wouldn’t have experienced it, learned from it, and you wouldn’t be the person you are today. I sometimes find that hard to believe. I think people can revert to who they were prior to any mistakes and may have been able to have lived the same way without them. Or, maybe the mistakes are the very thing that drove them to their true self at a more expedited rate.
I agree. Experiences, regrets, or what have you ultimately shape your perspective but when situations occur in which your perspective is no longer what you desire it to be, I find it hard not to call a few of those “experiences” regrets. I’ve often questioned what it’s like for people who truly don’t regret any of their actions and I sometimes assign a bit of sociopathic characteristics on them because it is hard for me to understand where their guilt went. I’m sure that most of these free spirited people are not, in fact, sociopathic but I wonder where they get this wonderful ability to truly use all situations as experience and hardly think or analyze it again. Where does this skill originate and how can I learn to do it? Dallas has been both positive and negative but I can’t help but think it leans a little bit more on the negative side. (Just a bit…) It truly reminds me of Fitzgerald’s depiction of NYC in Great Gatsby. Although stimulating and sometimes romantic, it also has the capacity to seemingly ruin a person or in the very least (or maybe I mean, very most) your perception of reality and the path to your true nature.
Once you have swayed too far off the optimism building it can be very difficult to find your balance again. In my past, when interruptions occurred I seemed to be able to “get back on the horse” fairly quickly….I also happened to be more emotional during that time in my life. Now I’ve lost a lot of immediate as well as prolonged emotion I once had. I think I used to utilize that more. Without it, I can’t use it and therefore become more stagnant with my emotions and have a more difficult time reaching my usual level of optimism. I hate to think of myself as a pessimist but most of what comes out of my mouth in real life stems from that belief system. This blog doesn’t usually reflect that because “when it comes down to it,” I do have nice thoughts about nearly everything. I believe, when spoken, written, or simply thought, this phrase (“When it comes down to it”) captures an awareness of true personal opinion after reflection, sometimes taking a lot of reflection in order to get to one’s final verdict.
Like I said, I do have the ability to see the silver lining in almost everything but I seem to have lost the stamina it takes to reflect on things enough to find it and verbalize it. I guess to me it seems more hopeless to live that way, or maybe it’s just laziness. What I’m getting at is that people would really benefit from reflecting more on what is positive and what’s negative in their lives. I mean truly take the time to reflect on things. I’m not sure how much I’ve silently and thoroughly reflected on my relationship with Dallas but I can’t help but think my moving says it all. If I wasn’t actively thinking about my place in Dallas, I was still subconsciously thinking about it. As much as I tried, I never felt like I fit in. It’s more of a short-lived place to visit – like Vegas. It has the ability to truly draw in a lot of people that I would say lost their morals somewhere or has the ability to keep them captive until they are ready to move on. Sidenote- if you live in Dallas and you don’t feel like this is true then I’m probably not talking about you so don’t worry about it. I know there are good people there. They just don’t live in Uptown. 😉 Maybe I’m ONLY talking about Uptown. It’s quite possible. This is Uptown to me and I am Nick Carraway (Toby Mcguire.)
Someone utterly entranced and repulsed at the same time.
I have similar feelings about facebook. I digress. Anyway, I’m not sure how some people seem to not have the capacity for guilt, and for those that do actually have guilt over their actions, I wonder why they continue to accept their existence in these choices with no sign of a light at the end of the tunnel drawing them to a different lifestyle. They are aware they want to change and yet they don’t. It’s mind-boggling. The only piece of advice I have for that is to change your venue. Play your life out somewhere else. Start over. Sometimes it’s just too difficult to do this in the place where you lost yourself, so move, or change jobs or change your entire group of friends.
I originally agreed with F. Scott about second acts. And it may be true to some people that you don’t get or have one. You are forever encapsulated in these minds as the person you know you are leaving behind. Well, that’s fine. When you decide to start over, the curtain opens after intermission, and somehow there is a new audience and one of them is the new (yet original and whole) you.