“Experience is a good teacher, but she sends in terrific bills.”
-Minna Thomas Antrim
“Hello, I would like to contest the charges on all this experience. Yes, I know I lived through all of that. And yes, I learned these lessons along the way. But I’m still hurting. I’m tired. I’m not up to this anymore. Yes, I’ll hold.”
The terrible Muzak commences. The hold is interminable.
“Ah, it’s you again. I thought you were going to transfer me to a supervisor or something… You ARE the manager? Great. Just great. What? You want me to hold again? No, I’d rather resolve thi–”
Look, learning things the hard way really stinks. Take it from me. And I know it’s cold comfort to hear from other people that there’s value in going through things and getting hurt. Especially since I’ve personally found that the people who are quickest to say stuff like that haven’t really been through all that much (I’m thinking of a specific, smarmy person right now from my own past; I bet you can think of one from yours).
I wish things were different. I wish that the way to a happy life involved no risk ever. And that good people didn’t ever get hurt. And that everyone acted in good faith, with kindness and patience towards others. I wish all people were treated fairly. That bad actors were always met with swift, just consequences.
I’ve been wishing for these things pretty much my entire life. And I’ll probably keep on wishing for them for as long as I’m alive — with some small corner of my brain.
But needing them to be true before I can function… well, that just wasn’t working out for me. And the reality is that I paid heavily for some of my early life lessons. And I’ll probably be paying off some of them for years and years even now.
But trying to get a refund doesn’t really go anywhere. Not in that weird hypothetical conversation above — and not in actual real life. Trying too hard to just ends up making you act like a Karen.
So at this point, the most I can do is try to get as much use out of what I’m stuck paying for. And give some away to other people, too, while I’m at it.