I’m already old enough to die a rock star’s death and I will soon be adding yet another year to my life.
Looking back, all I can see is how I had wasted my golden youth. And I know that there is nothing I can do other than to do my best to spend whatever is left of it as wisely as I can—I have to keep moving forward.
I don’t intend to turn this into some self-pitying diatribe; I want this to be a warning for all the men out there who may be making the same mistakes as I have only to sit with the same regrets later on. That said, I would be lying if I told you that I never spend time thinking about the past or have thoughts about how things could have been better. The past haunts me no matter how much I try to let go of it and move on. All the time that I wasted, all the opportunities missed, things I wish I could have done or shouldn’t have done, and so on, continue to live within me. Those thoughts will just appear whenever I get reminded of them even though I want to focus on creating new experiences in the now. They torment me with anger and bitterness even if I know that it’s no use feeling those emotions.
Now that I think about it, I don’t even know if regrets really have anything to do with our past decisions. Maybe ambitious, perfectionist individuals like myself are just destined to accumulate regrets no matter what decisions we make. Maybe it’s the interpretation of our story that matters more.
Nevertheless, I accept and stand by the fact that I had wasted the most crucial years of a man’s life. The years between 18 to 30 is when we first become independent and responsible, as well as being the time with the most amount of opportunities ahead. We develop and change the most during those years and it is also the epoch in which we cement our identity. But those vital years appear to have been largely squandered away by the past me.
I wasted my youth by spending hours upon hours every week playing video games. My explosive youthful energy was spent not on physical exertion to conquer something real, but by sitting mesmerized in front of a screen to struggle in a virtual world. I estimate that I had spent around ten to thirty hours a week on video games for more than half of my life.
I wasted my youth by neglecting my body. I let my body wither away by not using it. I let myself be weak without strength or vigor. I deprived myself from experiencing physical adventure; I was disconnected from the world by leading a domesticated life. As a result of a flawed outlook in life, I didn’t even do any weightlifting until I hit my mid 20’s. I still suffer the consequences of having a weak body due to my past.
I wasted my youth by being too complacent and by not taking on new challenges. I lived a sheltered life and refused to do anything that disrupted my myopic comfort zone. I did the same old things that merely took up my time rather than doing things that added value to my life. As a result, life was boring and meaningless while I felt a dreadful sense of emptiness and frustration. There are many things that I will never be able to experience ever in my life because the opportunity passed away. That is something I have to live with.
I could go on with more examples, but that would be redundant. It’s suffice to say that life just doesn’t feel the same as it used to when I had much more energy and when the world seemed more exciting. Sex was more phenomenal and love was heavenly, but now both seem dry and vapid. I used to feel invincible, but now I am painfully aware of my limitations and mortality. It’s more difficult to experience joy and fun. My innocence and novelty are all but worn out
It’s very hard to describe the wonders of youth in words: it is one of those things that can only be felt. And it’s much harder at my age to feel that touch of wonder anymore. I may never feel those beautiful emotions ever again.
I do believe that I still have the chance to explore and assert my potential, but I am far behind and have a lot of catching up to do. I also have a lot less room for mistakes. But because I’ve hit the bottom once I know that I never want to be there again. And unlike those who had it easy, I will not be making life easy for myself; I will be doing more than ever and trying harder than ever to pave the way for the future. In the end, I will rise above the rest.
I may have made mistakes in my youth, but the only real mistake would be to repeat those same ones again.
I refuse to waste my life anymore.