Peach asked, “Well, I wonder if you have any regrets?”
In a way this is simple to answer, but of course nothing is ever really simple. I am who I am today because of the life I lived. If I went back and changed anything I wouldn’t be who I am today, I would be someone different. If I changed some of those big life defining moments I would be possibly completely different. You know what? I like who I am today, so no I wouldn’t change anything.
But… it is never that simple. Looking back through life there are clearly moments I am ashamed of, where I acted like an ass, or was a bastard to a woman. Things I did where I hurt someone else, yes, I would go back and change those. I regret those.
For example, I think back to my time with J. The woman I mentioned who died in my arms? We were together for four years, and the relationship had both highs and lows. During the lows there are many moments I regret. People in love can do the most hugely harmful things to each other. I was certainly on the receiving end of some emotionally killer moments, and I have to say I dished some out as well.
I’m not sure why I’m going to write this, perhaps it’s a way of laying my regret out. Of apologising to someone I can’t ever really apologise to. There is one moment that I would undo, an action I would take back. Forgive me for getting a bit rude, but there’s no other way to explain this.
J liked oral sex, a lot. It was kind of her thing. I can’t say I minded in the least. She was pretty good. Early on in our time together she relayed a story about how her ex husband (a bit of a bastard whom she left after he was violent) sometimes pushed her away when she offered the same. She always felt it was punishment and cruel.
One night later in our relationship, when she was well and truly ill, I was pissed off about something. I can’t honestly remember what I was pissed off about it. Frankly it doesn’t matter as that night I pushed her away when she was trying to be kind. I regretted it the second I did it, knew I’d hurt her, and at the same time did nothing about it. How stupid was that? Not only did I deny us both a bit of fun at a time when we both needed it, but I used a tactic I knew would cause her pain. One of those things done in the heat of a second that you can’t pull back.
Needless to say, our relationship went from bad to worse. That we patched the wounds, that we had made steps to reconcile before she died is something I am deeply grateful for. I was enough of a mess after she died, if we’d still been feuding it would have been immeasurably worse.
So no, I am now who I am and would not go back, but yes, there are things I regret that I have done.
Peach also asked, “What about things you would do differently knowing what you know now, specifically life things like children and timing and marriage and commitment and you know all that stuff?”
I married latish, in my mid thirties and LL and I immediately settled down to have kids. Having kids later means dealing with all the tiring stuff, midnight feeds and nappy changes and illness, when you’ve started the downward slope to decrepitude. Sleep deprivation is torture, pure and simple. We went through it through three kids, spaced closely together. It means dealing with it when your careers are peaking, and time is ultra precious. It means being old when they hit adulthood. I’ll be in my late fifties when Princess hits university.
Yet… I wouldn’t change it. When LL and I met we’d both had more than a few relationships. We both knew exactly what we were looking for. We’d also both travelled widely, and had lived a lot of life. Kids take focus and energy, they do change your life. I’m perfectly content living a monogamous life centred around work, wife and kids because I’ve already lived a lot. I don’t feel I’m missing anything.
Which doesn’t mean there aren’t things I still want to do, it just means I’m happy to be doing what I am doing now. I don’t think I would have been as good a husband and father if I’d done it earlier. I still had things to learn. Which is not the same as saying I’m perfect now, lord knows I’m not. I’m just better than I was, more ready, more… content.