Monday, April 7, 2014

no regrets

I had an interesting conversation the other day that has stayed in the back of my mind since then, sometimes intruding on other thoughts. I had seen a psychiatrist--my first time, suprisingly I think, given how many times I've sought counseling--and during the course of our interview she asked, "Do you have any regrets about your past? Your drinking, drugs, your homelessness?"

I said, confidently, "No. No, I don't."

A  while later, in relation to another matter, she brought the subject up again. "You're certain, nothing you would change? Not your drinking or being homeless?"

"No," I repeated. "I don't want to romanticize it but there were things about those times of my life that I really liked and I'm glad I did."

And later, again, she said, "I've seen hundreds of people and no one, ever, has said he has no regrets about any of his past, so you're a first for me."

That's what is stuck in my brainclot. This notion that everyone else regrets his or her past misdeeds or perceived misadventures, and the suggestion that maybe I ought to regret them. I'll admit there are some instances I wish had turned out differently--some people I wish I'd been kinder to, some I wish I hadn't been so forgiving with, and those situations might have led to changes in my life--but with the major issues of my life, my decision to drink, to take as many drugs (outside anything to speed me up, tho coffee is as much a drug as any other) as I was offered, to pack up my belongings and go on the road instead of finding a new home after a few months on the street, I don't regret a thing.

No mistake, those were often difficult things to go through, but I'm happier I went through them than if I'd avoided them. I like the sense of disconnect and lack of control I get when I drink; I never had a bad trip on acid or peyote and weed was a very good friend; my homelessness helps me to remember to keep slow and not to take things as seriously as I might otherwise.

But I can't be the only one. I've known many homeless people and there have been some who choose to continue the life because they're comfortable with it or because they like who they meet or they feel safer. I've known a lot of drinkers and druggies who partake because they genuinely like it. It may be that such people never go to see psychiatrists and so are underrespresented. But I don't believe for a second I'm the only one who has who will admit to it.

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