We make mistakes: all of us.
We say the wrong thing, take a wrong turn, fumble. But there's a continuum of mistakes and their extent, right? There's a lot of ground between getting a little tipsy at the office holiday party and running over a bus of nuns and orphans because you're racing to the casino. I frequently feel an acute sting for minor mistakes and I think I'll be regretting the things I did forever, but a week later I've completely forgotten what happened. I think that's the way with most people.
Some mistakes stick with you, though. They actually shape you, change you, for good or bad. I do like to think that every mistake is a learning experience, and I try not to have regrets.
When I was 22 I got married. I got married to someone with problems. The next 10 months were rather unpleasant and I don't enjoy thinking of them. I left the marriage after 10 months and had an extremely difficult time getting him to leave me alone, which he did only after the divorce was final (about 9 months after I left). During the time after I left but before everything was final was the worst.
It's been 10 years, and in that time I've become a more confident, centered, capable adult. Of course - how much have you changed between your 20s and your 30s? I learned a lot from that experience and I wrestle with the "if I could go back in time and undo that, would I?" question. I don't know. If I didn't go through what I did I wouldn't be where I am, but I also would have spared myself so much pain and doubt and fear.
In any case, I though that most of those feelings were behind me. After all, why would I need to think about that now?
Because he contacted me on Facebook, that's why. After 10 years, I got a very surprising and unwelcome email message. It was an apology.
I won't respond, and I've been made quite uncomfortable. I feel invaded.
I am stronger than those feelings, though. They've been dulled by a decade of hard work and healthier relationships.
A word of advice: After 10 years, trying to apologize to someone who has made no effort to contact you in that time is just selfish.
I realize that people may disagree with me here. But as someone who started hyperventilating just at the sight of the name of the person who brought that much unhappiness, I'm just expressing what I've experienced.
PS. I am fine.