In lieu of Flash Fiction, I thought I’d reflect a bit on how I got where I am, aimed at where I’m going. The road hasn’t been straight, or even, or anything I could have predicted.

But I’m here, now. And I’m not stopping.

I can’t say I’m happy with every decision I’ve made. A lot of people will tell you “live life with no regrets.” It’s easy to say. It’s harder to do.

All of those decisions have lead to today, to who I am now. And I seem decent enough. I try to be. I can’t say I’m always right, nor am I proud of how I’ve always behaved. I’ve fucked up. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve stumbled.

I’ve hurt people.

That stings more than anything. My philosophy isn’t complex. This is a beautiful world, be it created by intelligence or the random confluence of cosmic forces, and it is worth celebrating. I happen to believe the former, for a lot of reasons, but I won’t begrudge someone who argues the opposite. I don’t see the point in trying to force what I believe on others. In fact, it seems selfish and cruel to do that. And no matter what I do or say, I do my utmost to never be cruel.

I fail in that, though. Not all the time, but often enough that it bothers me. I’ve lost acquaintances, friends, people close to me, because I have lashed out in times of weakness and confusion. Corner me emotionally and I become feral. I don’t mean to. And it frightens me. It’s terrifying any time my words come out faster than I can think them. The terror runs away with me, does everything it can to make the pain stop, and I’m left quivering in the aftermath, gripped by fear and doubt and sorrow and loneliness.

I try to avoid getting in that position. And if anything fills me with regret, it’s getting pushed into it. It can be hard to live with me, even talk to me at those times. But thankfully, those times are becoming more and more rare, as I continue to learn about the interior of my headspace and what makes the flawed machinery inside of me tick.

I’m a work in progress. We’re all works in progress. And the key word there is ‘work’.

This is the next step in that work. I’m breaking out. I’m trying something completely new and different. I’m aiming myself in a direction with which I’m not entirely familiar and pushing myself out of the door. Change isn’t going to happen on its own or due to divine intervention or as the result of some cosmic convergence. I have to be the vector of change in my own life. Whatever that might mean.

All I know is, I can’t move towards the past.

I try to take the lessons learned from it and move forward. But to be shackled by nostalgia, the might-have-beens and almost-but-never-was thoughts that can plague the addled mind? That won’t help me. That’s not progress. I am not the man I was ten or even five years ago. Nor do I want to be. The man I am now, today, and the man I would like to be tomorrow, those are my aim.

I haven’t always gotten in right, in the past. And I’m deeply sorry for those I’ve hurt there. There’s no way I can apologize to everyone, but I will make the effort if asked of me. Words can only do so much, but they’re available if necessary. I’m good with words, at least.

My path is forward. It’s picking up speed. And the threshold to the next unknown portion of that path is rapidly approaching.

Let’s see where this road takes me.