I used to be that girl — the one that would ghost her friends and put all of the focus on the guy I was dating at the time. I was young, so I try not to beat myself up for it too much, but I made some huge mistakes. Sometimes I wonder how different my life would be now had I made decisions for me instead of him.
- I went to a college closer to home. There were a few schools that I absolutely loved, but there was one in particular that my boyfriend liked at the time. Unsurprisingly, this school was close to home where he lived and I’d only be about an hour away. I turned down other opportunities just to stay close to him.
- I went home when I should’ve been making friends. Every two weeks, I’d make the hour-long drive back home. My new friends at school would always beg me to stay, but I felt like I had an obligation to my boyfriend. Of course, he never bothered to come up and visit me. He always claimed there was something wrong with his car or he didn’t have enough money. I didn’t see the trend in our relationship at the time, but I was always bending over backward for him.
- I declined huge opportunities. My school had an incredible travel abroad program. My roommate and I would stay up half the night planning which countries we’d visit on the weekends, but I knew deep down that I wouldn’t go. I lied to my college buddies and told them my parents weren’t comfortable with me leaving the country. The reality was, I was feeling insecure about my relationship, and I knew my guy and I would never last if I was gone for a few months.
- I pushed people away. My friends could see the opportunities I was opting out of and they confronted me. I resented them for not being supportive of my relationship. Now that I’m older, I can see now that they just cared about me a lot and they were concerned I wasn’t living my best life. They were absolutely right, and I wish I had listened to them sooner.
- Graduation day was a huge wake-up call. My guy and I dated on and off throughout my college career. He and I both dated other people, but we’d always reconnect. A part of me held onto hope until my very last day at school. When he didn’t bother showing up on graduation day, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I’d never been more proud of my own accomplishments, and his absence was a huge damper on my day. I watched as friends embraced and took pictures with each other in their caps and gowns, and I never felt more alone in my life.
- I made myself a promise. After graduation day, I sought out job opportunities far away from home. If I was going to cut ties with my boyfriend, I was going to really cut ties. I knew I’d fall back into our same old routine if I moved back home. I took an internship right out of college in a place I knew he’d never visit. As he and I drifted apart, I gained some amazing life experience and met new people. I was finally doing things for me.
- My decisions still plague me. After school, I did my best to reconnect with people that had been there for me from the very beginning. Understandably, many of them weren’t interested in rekindling a friendship with me. It still hurts to this day to know that I didn’t take full advantage of my college experience. It’s something I can never take back, but now I try to take full advantage of each day that lies ahead.
- My relationships are much different now. I let the men in my life define my decisions for too long. Since I graduated, I’ve become much more independent and cognizant of my actions when I’m in a relationship. I make sure there’s always time to catch up with friends, and there’s always a new adventure planned in the future, whether someone is coming with me or not.
- I can’t take back the things I’ve done. I can’t undo my past, as much as I’d like to. I can’t return all the mixed text messages or turn my car around and attend the unforgettable parties I skipped out on. I can’t turn back time and fly to Europe with my roommate and go on the adventure of a lifetime. I can control my future, though. I can accept every wedding invitation and I can go on impromptu trips with my best friends. I can kiss cute boys and not think twice about whether or not I’ll get a second date. No one gets to decide pivotal moments in my life except for me.