I was lucky enough to have a couple of drinks last night with two people I love and respect.
These are people who have achieved amazing things in their careers. People I feel like I can learn from every day. People I adore.
Somehow, the conversation got around to past experiences.
Turns out, both of my friends have done and experienced some horrible things in their pasts.
Does this change the way I feel about them? No. I know them NOW. I am not going to judge them for the people they used to be. In fact, I’m proud of them for conquering whatever demons they encountered.
But they started giving me a hard time for not having had those kinds of experiences.
I was missing out, they said. They’d had to overcome things that I hadn’t. They implied that they have a better grasp on the human condition than I do, simply because I’ve never been subject to poverty/substance abuse/what have you.
On the one hand, I kind of get what they mean. I understand that having to stand up in the face of hardship… to struggle against it… to be beaten down… to bring yourself up by your bootstraps… Well, that creates a kind of strength that I do not know.
But on the other hand, I was offended.
Yes, I have been fortunate in my life. I was born to a good family, a family who had enough money, who taught me about morals and work ethic and making good decisions. I have not had to encounter job loss or poverty or abuse of any kind. For these things I am grateful every day.
But I also made good choices. I decided to take paths that led to higher ground. I turned away from drugs and abusive relationships and immoral people.
While I am a firm believer that we are the sum of all our experiences, good and bad… And that bad choices, negative experiences, tragedy can all make us stronger, better people…
Well, I don’t believe that I am LACKING because I “missed out” on those things.
Should I regret NOT HAVING regrets?
That seems ridiculous.