This does not sound crazy at all, I actually feel sad for all the things I never got to live and call my own, all the memories I don’t have, all the experiences I don’t get to talk about, and the people I didn’t share my life with.

This is not about missed opportunities and misfortune. I feel sorry for the lives that were so vividly present in my mind, so beautifully projected in a future that might not happen at all. Maybe, in some way, I have already lived them there, in my imagination, and so they’ve become useless for this moment and for those waiting to come. Maybe, I stop believing in them, and so, just like childhood dreams, they’ve made room for a somewhat more corporate or IKEA like order of thoughts. Maybe, I just let them go and I now I get to miss them once in awhile.

Part 1: I feel sorry about the college experience I didn’t have.

This need some explaining because I did go to college, I have a Masters degree and I finished in the top 3 of my class, with ridiculous grades and meanings attributed to those achievements that were very far from my soul’s expectations, like some many other aspects of my life.

Branded T-shirt needs reveal more than fashion choices

The sadness hit me when I was visiting Berkeley and when I found myself frantically set on buying a branded college sweatshirt as if the world was about to end tomorrow and the only thing that could save it was a superpower logo on clothes. My mind found the perfect solution for my misery: if you buy a shirt, you’ll have a part of this great college experience, as if you actually lived it. We all do the same with celebs, that is why we are so interested in knowing what lipgloss they use, or what nail polish makes them feel special, so we can go & buy exactly that color and live the same experience as they do, thus making us & our lives feel as important as we think theirs are. Of course, our lives are small and insignificant compared to any Hollywood bubble, so far away that comparing is just a mean of self-torture most of the times, but in this one extremely specific and highly important area of our existence, the two worlds collide and are exactly the same: nail polish color! Sometimes, that is all you need in order to feel that you matter just as much, that your work is valuable since you can afford the same things and, above all, that you have something in common with the unreachable: same damn good tastes in color picking!

Back to my own sobby story, if we may. That was the precise feeling I wanted, for my own experience, to know that I have something in common with a great academic opportunity. The campus, the study buildings, the humongous library, the coffee shop, the park within, the town, that ice cream, the stories I don’t have of them. I was born and still live in a small town of Romania, so I am as far from the US experience as I can possibly be. I did not leave my hometown to go to college, I didn’t even consider the possibility at that time, I didn’t make that choice since I was buried in guilt and marrying the story that made me think that I didn’t deserve more. We are currently in divorce, hence all the writing.

I was visiting some friends in SF, and they were the ones that took me to Berkeley, on my request, because I needed to have a taste of it, and please feel free to replace this great college with any other one from the Ivy league, from US, UK, etc. Of course, I had the tourist version of it, but still, that triggered every cell in my body to want it more. I saw myself wandering the alleys, getting lost in the first year of college, seeking to find friends, deciding on where to sit in a classroom, trying to fit it, desperately making sense of the a colleague’s notes, writing papers, crying to my parents on the phone, living in a dorm, praying for an exam subject (aka for a miracle), not washing my hair for 1 week because I was too busy studying, always wearing the same undies for the toughest exams or writing with the same pen that got me my first A there. I always was a kid that used to stand out in school, but standing out at a prestigious college, having those kinds of opportunities, experiences, people & ideas around was something else. I felt sorry about the chances, the stories and the growth this would have brought in my life, mostly because I felt present there, more than I was during my own college experience.

Pay attention to what your soul says YES to

I consider that period an average one, although my results and commitment were far from average, although I have never felt average. Ever since kindergarten, I graduated at the top of my class, I had extraordinary teachers that saw the magic in me, gave wings to dreams and equaled potential to possibility. Somehow, I forget all that and my mind pulled a dark trick on me, deciding that I am not worthy. I picked Law School, but never decided on that, because my extremely smart & driven best friend knew she wanted that, and so, I adhered to a serious choice, trying to seem serious about my future. My soul said NO. I didn’t leave my small hometown for college because I wanted to feel righteously small too. My soul said NO. I had straight As because that made me feel that I was doing something important and everyone can see that. NO again.

My poor heart had enough after 5 years of studying something that was not related to my truth. I decided to leave home, to go the state capital, and pursue a career in an area I loved but had no preparation for. Took chances, worked hard, failed, tried again. Soul said YES.

I didn’t decide on my academic path, I wasn’t present in my life during those years, but I did what was expected of me and that is why I miss the higher experience of what could have been. I didn’t have it, so I still want it. In some way, it’s just the human need for more, for growth, change, new or unknown and I am not sorry for feeling this. It’s similar to the desire to visit Paris or any other lovely place that you’ve never seen before. That is what memories are: a place where you used to be and wanna go back to, from time to time, a place or a version of you that you used to know and love, if they are good ones.

It can be just like a funny little cab story:

Driver: where to?

Passenger: to ____ (insert dream of choice destination). I can’t wait to get there!

Driver: been there before?

Passenger: no, but wanted to, so many times before!

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