While I wake up every day, looking forward to experience something new. Sometimes, I can’t help but look back and see so many wasted years. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not at the end of my life. Not by a large margin. I’m 38 years old. But, when I look back to my twenties, and early thirties, I wish I could roll back the clock and do things differently.
I’m not just talking about the gender stuff. That is a huge one. But, there are other aspects of my life I wish I could change. I grew up with severe social anxiety and depression. No doubt caused by the gender dysphoria. But, the damage it did to me was far reaching. There are so many things and new experiences I missed out in my youth. All because I couldn’t raise my voice, go into a building, or ask a question.
One of the more bizarre regrets I have is that of trying new foods. Very early on in my life, I found food that I liked and then just stopped. I went into my 20’s without knowing what M&M’s or gummy bears tasted like. I remember eating a Wendy’s hamburger for the first time at the age of 23. I wouldn’t touch them as a kid because they were square. Some of these food choices were made when I was a kid. Fear of the unknown ruled. And I’m not much a candy eater. But, it’s not like I haven’t had an opportunity to try new foods. I spent four years in the Navy. I’ve been to Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E, and Australia. Did I take the excellent opportunity to sample local quisine while overseas? No. Some of it was fear of not knowing what to order. Especially in a place where there might be a language barrier. But, some of it was the fault of youth. You don’t have as much respect for the situation your in. Being in a foreign land was a wonderful adventure. But, I don’t think I appreciated it as much as I would now. If I was traveling now, I would walk into restaurants other than McDonald’s and I would take more pictures.
While I do occasionally get frustrated and depressed about the past, I try not to dwell on it. I’m in a much better place now. And I am trying to enjoy the fact that I am not as bothered by social anxiety as I was years ago. I’m making more friends. I’m teaching myself new skills. I’m trying to do more outdoor activities, like the Urban Assault Ride. And I’m trying new foods. This may seem stupid and a little geeky. But, I’ve set up a Google Spreadsheet to list foods I’ve never eaten and check them off as I try them. And a few friends have volunteered to help me find and prepare the foods that need to be cooked. One friend has even brought up the idea of getting most of these foods together and invite a bunch of friends over to have a big party. That would be a fun way of knocking out a bunch of them at the same time. And I’m still contemplating trying one thing a week or every day or so. Maybe even eat in front of a camera and post it to youtube. That way, you could see me make a funny face or spit it out in disgust. I’m a little shy. So, getting over that fear could be something else to get over.
Never let the regrets win. Afterall, as a twitter friend said last night “It’s not like your dead. Go do!”