They say hindsight is 20/20, perfect vision. Sometimes, I reflect on where my life could have gone differently. If I had gotten that hospital job like I wanted to badly, I might not have learned as much as I have about different pharmacy business models or seen the types of leadership approaches in action. This year, I debated whether to stay with my current course or to cut my losses (financially, time-wise, emotionally), apply to a different dental school, and start again. But despite the many daydreams and fan-fiction stories I’ve read, you can’t go back in time.
Really, if you could go back and change how you responded, you wouldn’t be the same person. You wouldn’t have learned the lessons you did, and the people around you would be shaped differently.
I went back to visit my old high school when I first came back home. It was great. A lot of the teachers recognised me. I got a hug from my old mentor. Maybe he’s getting soft in his old age, he was always a bit gruff and scary in high school. Before then, I’d always felt such mortification at recalling my high school experience and actions. It was impossible to give myself any slack. But going back this year, I finally gained some perspective when I saw those students and my teachers. As teachers, they were limited in what they could say and do. They had certain roles to play. I must have been painfully awkward.
But it’s ok now. It’s a bit pathetic, but I think I can finally stop beating myself up over some of the unbelievably stupid things I said and did.
And then today, a week later, I saw J. We went to elementary school together. We were good mates then, I suppose. I remember one year, there was a mime club. I had so much fun doing that with him. Then we both left for different private schools in Year 7. He went to an elitist school for the academically bright. I went to a French immersion school, elitist because they spoke French for nearly everything and all its students thought themselves the shit, myself included. We met sporadically over the years, and it wasn’t unpleasant or anything.
Now, J’s dad is an optician and owns a glasses shop. Our family has gone there for years to get our glasses, contacts and sunglasses. Today, J was in the shop. I knew that he’d applied to med school, hadn’t been accepted and had taken it hard. In my mind, I presumed he’d re-applied and gotten in. He was always so intelligent from all reports.
At first, I thought he was hanging around, visiting his Dad. Then it clicked that he was working. I pulled off my hat and was straightening my hair when he came out from the back. I didn’t recognise him. I dare say he’s become quite attractive. Mum said hello. He was rather stand-offish, to the point where I wasn’t even sure it was him. I waited till he left the front of the shop and asked Mum if that was, in fact, J. She replied in the affirmative. My first reaction was, “How rude.” But on some consideration, I thought it was a bit weird and sad actually, that he couldn’t interact normally with someone from his childhood.
When I was attending the French immersion school, I had my head up my ass and acted like I didn’t know friends from elementary school. But I like to think I pulled it out at some point.
On the drive home, Mum explained that there was tension in the family. The grandmother only likes J and blatantly favours him. She doesn’t get on with J’s father, and vice versa. J’s sister resents the favouritism, and said, “That’s why J didn’t get into med school.” (?too coddled, so no competitive edge?) Anyway, lots of friction. Oh, and the grandmother talks crazy shit to family friends. Hilarious and sad at the same time.
It sucks that he has such a massive chip on his shoulder. I’ll cut J some slack when I go pick up my new glasses. It’s Christmas. And he’s an old childhood friend. Besides, he’s really easy on the eyes now, so it’s not too hard. Poor J.