Dear Lana,

I was thinking about missed opportunities just now, specifically how missed opportunities affect us in the long run. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how all missed opportunities have done for me is propel me to write about how many opportunities I have missed.

Usually, when I get sad about the past, I would just get another tattoo. Since this isn’t exactly the best time to get a tattoo, I’ve decided to take a chill pill on that.

Lana, I think only yearning for the future keeps me from sinking back into the past. It’s such a strong instinct — nostalgia. It isn’t necessarily reflecting on the past with rose lenses. I know my past was pretty horrible, and I know in many ways my past has limited me from achieve all that I wanted to achieve. But, despite not having the greatest time growing up, there’s always an instinct to think about that time, particularly during my adolescent years.

I think, for me, my adolescent years were the worst years of my life. They were magnitudes worse that whatever I felt during college, yet they are also the years I find myself reflecting the most on. They are years that happened. I am experiencing the years that followed. Now that I am happier than I was in college, I notice that I think more about the future now, as opposed to attempting to understand my past. I don’t really read Freud or Camus anymore — the subject matter no longer interests me. I have less of a need to attempt to understand why things happened the way they did.

Thoughts that do interest me: my career, my relationships, my network — it’s very adult-like.

I still write a lot, and I’ve been taking up new hobbies like singing and drawing, but at the end of the day those are just hobbies. I’ve stopped looking at any art or writing I create as me creating something of importance. At the end of the day, I am still just trying to make sense of my current life as it stands. And as for the current life as it stands, it is a pretty ordinary life. I am not trying to be extraordinary any longer. And because I no longer feel extraordinary, I no longer feel my art and writing have any sort of importance. I am just an average guy trying to live through life, like all the other average guys out there.

I wrote a short line in the dedication section of my last book:

Here’s to forgetting about the past.

Despite all the personal writing I have done in undergrad — over 200,000 words scribbled on various Google Docs and blog posts — I still have so much to go in terms of understanding how I became the way I am. I have, for sure, made progress. There’s a difference between how well I understood my intersectional identities before and after I dumped all of my thoughts into various sheets of paper. But, at the end of the day, I realized that I would never achieve what I set out to achieve even if I dedicated my entire life to understanding my past. It just doesn’t work out that way. A much more productive and fruitful way to spend my life is to just forget about my past and think towards the future. There is so much that is uncertain about the years to come. I have plans, but I am not too attached to my plans at the moment. I understand that plans can change, and I am no longer attached to this identity of mine that clings to plans as if my plans were my dear life. The world ahead something else,

I realized that writing isn’t that hard. Dumping your thoughts on a empty Word document doesn’t take that much time. I remember, in my angsty moments, I could churn out 1,000 words every hour. Anxiety and stress are great motivators for writing, and I don’t care enough to actually edit my writing. That would imply that I care about my writing, and I’ve never really identified with being an artist. Being an artist means caring about creating art, and I never really considered the stuff I put out writing worth reading.

The hard part is to achieve mental fortitude, which depends from person to person. It is about overcoming the past in any way possible. For the longest time, I thought overcoming the past meant attempting to understand it. I read so much literature and philosophy in an attempt to understand my past. But now, I realize that isn’t it. Conquering and understanding never meant the same thing. Overcoming the past means forgetting the past.