In 6 minutes you can:
Answer 5 emails, depending on the content of the emails,
Listen to two songs,
Unload the dishwasher and reload it halfway,
Fold your basket of clean laundry, provided you didn’t procrastinate for a week and now it’s two loads of laundry,
And apparently, in 6 minutes you can push out a baby.
I don’t remember much except two bright lights on the ceiling and begging the doctor for drugs, but I do know that in 6 minutes my life changed more than I could ever imagine. My Spotify has more baby Mozart than G-eazy these days, showers are no longer an every day luxury, the smell of baby lotion is permanently stuck up my nose, $6 Starbucks drinks come few and far between, my nipples feel like someone attached two clothes pins and pulled as hard as they could, and I no longer think about myself first.
Looking at myself now, holding a sweet 8 lb mini me in my arms, I’m ashamed of the person I was two years ago. I regret the late nights, throwing myself at any guy who would give me the time of day. I regret the friendships I threw out because of differing opinions or childish drama. I regret the lies I told and the people I hurt with my words. I wish I’d thought about the role model I would become for a sweet baby girl. I’d struggled with such regrets throughout the entire pregnancy, mostly blaming the random tears on hormones, but it seems I have to find a way to actually deal with them and put them to rest once and for all.
I can think about a lot in 6 minutes. The time(s) I got busted trespassing on NORAD, both times with people I no longer speak with anymore (Don’t ask, I just wanted to know about the Aliens). The mornings I woke up in my car, cold and sore, and drove to the barn to muck stalls and exercise horses while my breath froze in the air, only to return to the same car to sleep that night because I was too stubborn to follow my parents rules. The glasses of wine I shared with my best friend, someone currently 2000 miles away from me. The first and last ribbons I won competing for the Colorado Hunter/Jumper Association. So many bittersweet memories I want to someday share with the precious baby I brought into this world.
But how does one overcome the regret and look back on these days with joy instead of pain? How does one heal the mental wounds caused by the people in the memories without forgetting the events that caused such joy? How can I look back and not see the guy who cheated on me but still remember the late night races through Garden of the Gods? At what point can I reminisce about late night drives to Denver in an Audi named Lana owned by a former best friend without thinking about how we tried to slander each others names a few months later? Is it even possible?
Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future
The healing process is slow, and it requires time to grieve; Time which is far and few between when raising a newborn. But it can be done. I can finally look back at some pictures without the pit of sadness opening in my stomach. I can’t quite stalk Facebook pages yet, it still hurts to see some people from my past doing so well- getting engaged, starting families, graduating college… but one thing I’ve taught myself in the past week is to remember that I am also doing those things. I am trying to fix a struggling relationship, I brought a baby into this world in only 4 pushes, I have a job I love, I have goals for my future in order to better provide for my daughter, and none of these things would be happening had I not made those crazy wild mistakes in the past.
Each and every move we make sets us up for our future, good or bad.
The bad moves teach us invaluable lessons we could never learn from a textbook or our parents, and someday I’m going to have to watch my child make these mistakes and sit back and breathe and say “I can’t help her, she’ll learn this on her own. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but someday she’ll look back and realize it happened for a reason.”
The good moves teach us that we can do what we put our minds to, that we’re not a lost cause, that we can make decisions that benefit our happiness and mental health.
Regret for the things we did can be tempted by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.
It’s a slow, seemingly endless process, and I’m coming to the conclusion that it is also a lifelong one. We must overcome each setback and mistake eventually. If not for ourselves and our own mental well being, but for our children, so we can be the understanding shoulder to cry on when inevitably they also make mistakes.
6 minutes is a long time, when you fill it with regrets, but blissfully too short when you fill it with joy.