I can’t claim to have any misgivings about hindsight, really. This entire blog is written in hindsight. I know that, necessarily, as you age and grow, you learn things either from an experience, or from navel-gazing about that experience very thoroughly. (No one’s ever accused me of not being thorough enough.)
But sometimes I wish I hadn’t learned some things.
I wish I hadn’t learned about negging. It colors my memories of so many of my interactions with Shane. Was he a pick-up artist? I highly doubt it, (1) because that was in like 1996 and it wasn’t even a thing yet, and (2) because I think he was a good guy and wouldn’t have done that on purpose even if he knew it was a thing… but now I have a label for it.
I wish I’d never experienced a hurt so complete that I never want to talk to an ex again. (Looking at you, Matt.) I especially wish it when I realize that’s how Luke and Shane must have felt about me on the few occasions when I tried to rekindle a friendship. Double hurt for the price of one.
I wish I’d never known that Joe thought of me as a passing fascination.
In some ways, I even wish away the wisdom of my older years, because it leaves my memories of my “firsts” (first love, first kiss, first time) muddied, confused, and a little yucky.
So sometimes I pretend that I don’t know things.
I pretend I don’t know that Matt was manipulative and narcissistic– it makes those memories seem charming rather than scary.
I pretend I don’t know that Joe wasn’t really that into me– it makes my first love seem worthy of the depth of feeling I gave to it.
I pretend I don’t know that I hurt Luke and Shane, probably deeply enough that they’re completely done with me, in the sense that they don’t even devote a second of their time to remembering me fondly (or at all)– because then I don’t have to feel hurt that they’re lost to me, or guilty that I did that.