One year

A year ago, in a city on a river, everything changed.

I have violent fights with myself about that time in my life. Was it right to go with it, to experience someone and something so foreign from everything else I knew? Or should I have gone with my original instinct to run?

In hindsight, running was probably the right answer. But as I told this person during one of our thousands of marathon conversations, there is no such thing as a “right” choice. You choose, or else things get chosen for you.

And when you do choose, there are outcomes. Again, there are no “right” outcomes — there’s just a natural follow-up to whatever you’ve allowed to enter your life. Good and bad.

It’s all well and good to think one outcome would lead to neverending joy. Or, at least more joy than another choice. I mean, the latter may be true, and that’s what you have to take into account when you’re making your choices.

I try to remind myself that my choices made me grow. Made me smarter. Made me tougher. Or, in this case, made me softer and more open to different outcomes I never knew were possible.

That helps to temper the “what in the actual hell was I doing” moments. Which are more frequent than I’d care to admit, even now with so much distance in the rearview.

In any event, I heard this on Pandora today and it took me back to a connection that I would never have made if work hadn’t unshackled me and let me go get connected with fresh faces elsewhere in the country …

“Breakin’ down and coming undone
It’s a roller coaster kinda rush
And I never knew I could feel that much
And that’s the way I loved you.”

— Taylor Swift, “The Way I Loved You”

I miss being tough and skeptical and doubtful and disinterested and distanced, not just from him but from everyone. But it was interesting to see what I was capable of, in my dark little heart. I just wonder whether I’ll ever even want to try to do it again.

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