A Better Version of Me

On top of Mt. Mansfield
Ever have one of those days when every screw up, every disappointment, and every shoulda-done from your entire life plays in your head like some sadistic reality TV channel? And you just can't tune out, turn it off, let it go?

It began sometime this morning, when I recalled the horrifyingly poor choice I made at the age of 13 to parody a beloved teacher in our school's talent show. I had intended for it to be a tribute. But not only was the performance humiliating, it was in very bad taste - a tacky, torrid, lip-synched monstrosity. (Yes, lip-synched. To the Beach Boys. It was 1992). This misty-colored memory set me thinking about how I can be a real jerk sometimes.

From there, the carousel of shame spun forward to my high school and college years, replete with unsavory couplings, slacker screw-ups, intoxicated tirades, and selfish shenanigans. But wait, there's more! What would the point of a self-loathing session be if it didn't include the gory glories of my twenties...self-righteous, pushy, emotionally unstable, unforgiving and too ambitious...

Which brings us to the present day, in which I am still too thin-skinned. In which I still over-think petty details. In which I am grudgie. In which seemingly little things still have the surprising ability to set my world asunder. 

My first instinct was to make it all right somehow. I'd send letters to everyone with whom I'd ever fought -- regardless of whether they ever knew we were fighting. I'd confess my jealousy and insecurity. I'd stitch up old wounds, one at a time, building up to the biggest hurts, until the slate was clean.

Instead I went to lunch at the organic grocery store, drowning my heavy regrets in a regrettably heavy cheddar-brocolli soup, with a side of socially-conscious noodle salad. It was just another rainy Tuesday, afterall. And just because I was held hostage by ghosts of the past didn't mean I had the right to rouse those ghosts for others.

Sometimes, as my farmer beau often says, it's best to leave well enough alone. Which is why tonight, I'll pour a glass of wine, put my feet up in front of the fire, and plan for tomorrow...just another Wednesday, hopefully sunny, and a brand new chance to start working on a better version of me.

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