I need to remind myself that when I get bored that I must not start googling. It’s a pathway to mental and emotional hell.
Ok, well maybe I am being a bit over dramatic but, this- this my friends is a cautionary tale.
It all started with a random conversation about relationships. I ended up musing about my first love. You know the one..when you’re too young, love seems like a drug and you feel like you’re in a Franco Zefferelli film 24/7. My first real love happened in college and I fell hard, fast and before I knew it I was graduating and planning on getting married. Of course what comes with all of this emotional ju ju is lack of judgment and without much thought, I broke off the engagement. I had gone through losing my Mom to cancer, I was graduating and entering a new world, and my friends weren’t settling down..I felt overwhelmed and as I am prone to do, I pulled the rip cord. As luck would have it, you can’t re-fold an opened parachute and so it took only a few months for me to realize my mistake and I walked the emotional line of shame and tried to repair and reunite.
My timing was about a month off.
The love of my 23 year old life was dating someone new.
I was crushed and I was focused. I wasn’t used to not getting my way so I set out to win M back. For awhile it seemed to work and then it didn’t. Finally, it all imploded in the gardens of Duke University when he told me, he didn’t want to pick up where we left off, he didn’t want me, and no we were not getting back together. I was devastated..I had spent a few months trying everything I could think of to win him back, crying profusely and generally not understanding why someone who professed to love me so much, wouldn’t consider trying again. I hurt him, he hurt me back and I traveled back to Charleston, cried the whole way there and vowed no one would ever hurt me like that again.
A year or two passed and I picked up the pieces of my broken heart, scotch taped them together and moved on. The funny part was lo and behold I fell in love again, and again, and,…well..again. Proof that the heart is stronger than you think.
The last time I saw M was over 20 years ago. The last time I thought of M was about 2 weeks ago..damn my innate curiosity.
I had a meeting-less day at the office, I had just returned from a successful business trip where if I do say so myself I had ruled the panel discussion I was leading, I had a long weekend planned…my desk was clear but not my mind.
Adele was playing in the background and the song “someone like you” came on…we all know I am prone to flights of fancy and deep emotional song bonding..and I saw an interview where Adele explained the meaning of the song and why she wrote it. I blame that talented Brit for my next move.
So I clicked on Facebook…and did the deed. I typed in his name to see if he was on FB. Nope.. but as FB is prone to do, it pulled up “related searches” and there was his name aligned with an Orthopedic Clinic in Florida. I clicked on the link and a few clicks later I had his resume pulled up, found out that he was a spine surgeon in private practice, and I am happy to report it also appeared he had gained a significant amount of weight.. Thank God for small gifts.
When we were dating he was running his Dad’s local business but I suddenly remembered that his final words to me were something along the lines of “I am thinking of becoming a thoracic surgeon and getting a Jaguar.” I remember thinking, uh yeah right….I plan on becoming an astronaut and getting a dune buggy.
It was just the most random thing to say to me, and he had NEVER spoken about a career in medicine for the 3 years we were together.
As I poured over his resume, I was impressed. He had racked up three degrees, was well published and apparently very successful.
I clicked back over his picture and I can honestly say there was no stomach flip..no, emotion, no oh man, what could have been…all vestiges of the M I knew were gone—replaced by a pin stripe suit, grey hair and perhaps a bit of airbrushing.
I decided to take the high road and so I sent him a quick email and congratulated him on his success. That was it, I didn’t ask any questions, because I really didn’t want any answers..and I didn’t expect a response. The way we ended wasn’t exactly a hallmark greeting so I figured my message would go into cyberspace and that would be it.
Until 7:45 that night. I was working on a project and an email popped through. It was a small paragraph that contained a letter’s worth of info..M thanked me for being kind, told me how blessed his life had been,(whenever someone says that you just know they are about to rub your face in their blessings, right?) where he and his wife lived, that he had 2 kids, their names, ages, and then one sentence about how he saw that I was still involved in the music business and he hoped I had realized all of my dreams and hopes as well.
I kept staring at that email and the more I looked at it the angrier I got. His bio was enough to make me feel like the underachiever of the year, and then his email detailing how perfect his life was -was just the icing on the cake. Maybe it’s because I am competitive, maybe it’s because I never expected M to make good on his claim, or maybe I just needed an excuse to question my own success?
Either way I went into a funk for a few days and felt..well to be honest– completely useless. I wasn’t a doctor helping people to walk again, I’m nowhere near my market value salary wise, and despite talking about getting my PhD for two years I was nowhere closer to that goal than I was walking the Chanel cat walk—a goal I may never realize as well but one I hold dear nonetheless.
I didn’t respond to M’s email..I did think about asking him if he was bloated and casually mentioning I had discovered a new genome, but at the end of the day, what was the point? I wasn’t trying to reconnect I was just trying to be nice, and his response probably did exactly what it was engineered to do which was rub my face in his orthopedic success.
Then another email changed my perception about it all. I was catching up with another friend, also named Kim, and told her what had happened and mentioned I was in a major mind funk and searching Grad Schools so I could get busy. I can’t remember her exact words, but she basically said “you’re a rock Goddess and that’s far more exciting than being a doctor…we all make choices and your life is just as important—it’s just different.”
And then I paused and pondered. In my ire over M’s success I had forgotten all of the things I had accomplished. Granted I wasn’t helping people with fused spines but my life has been meaningful..just meaningful without scrubs….which let’s face it, don’t look good on anyone.
So I finally let it go, deleted his email and decided to refocus on MY success. I was allowing M’s good on paper success to make me feel bad about my accomplishments. Then I realized, it’s kind of like the famous Sex and the City quote.. ‘are there some people (women) put on this earth to make you feel bad about yourself?”
Well, no not really, only if we let them, right?
So far my life has been an interesting adventure and I’ve accomplished things I never thought I would, and there are a few accomplishments I still want to tackle..and I will. Most importantly, none of it has been predictable, which if I hadn’t made the decision I did a long time ago, just may have been my fate.
Minivans are practical but they’re just not me…and I am genuinely happy for M…but the best part? I am even happier for me.