#38 the undoing project

“Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.” – Megan Devine

Daniel Kahneman had a theory that the mind tries to create “alternative versions of reality” in order to  “undo” experiences that lead to regret, sorrow or frustration. The fewer steps it takes to “undo” the experience, the more we are inclined to believe these alternative constructions of reality involving “what ifs” and “if onlys”.

Sometimes, late at night I catch myself trying to undo things: if only I have managed to persuade you, if only I have been more inspiring, if only I have done the right things, if only I have not been so persistent, if only I am not who I am. I try to be good to the people around me and sometimes being too considerate may end up putting undue pressure on them. And I don’t want to stress the people whom I love. But the more love I have for some people, the more I bend myself to suit them and the more I allow myself to burn like a candle to light up their paths. But that may not be what they need. And that is certainly not what you need. There had been hope that came with my involvement and I have failed to live up to my promise – I have failed as a friend. You watched me try and I could only wonder, “What is on your mind?”

I have made many mistakes in my dealings with people before but I have always been lucky enough to have the chance to make good. But I do not have the chance to make it up to you so I can only imagine what I would say if I see you again. Maybe I would tell you how empty my life has been without you. Maybe I would tell you how fortunate I am to be blessed with your friendship. But above all, I would tell you how much I miss you and how much I miss the person I am when I am with you.

Sometimes I think about the things that I have said to you or I have done to you and I wonder if I could have done anything differently. Maybe different words/ actions would lead to different outcomes. Sometimes I also think about the things that I did not say to you or the things that I did not do for you. When the opportunity presented itself, why was I so silent and awkward? I don’t like how inexperienced I am in life and I don’t like how I am just feeling my way around and messing things up for you. I have tried and that is my only consolation. I used to think that trying is better than not trying. But how true is that?

I wonder if you think of me as often as I think of you. I wonder if there will be a day when we can come together and you can share your thoughts with me. I can’t fix you but I will carry your friendship wherever I go because some people are not meant to be forgotten. And if only (yet another if only) I could have it my way in life, I will carry you wherever I go to anywhere you want to go.


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