Today I’m going to be bringing you the hard-hitting facts of my short life’s biggest regret. This Weekend Edition discusses what’s been on my mind the last week. As I finish production on my first book, I wanted to take a look at the man who inspired it.
December 17th, 2017 can only be described by me as a cliche; a day I will never forget. This isn’t because of the magical music festival I was at, the excitement of seeing some of my favorite performers live, or because I was getting to party it up. It’s a day I’ll never forget because of the call that came through. Arguably, I have no idea how it managed to find me in a sea of cellular devices that had reduced signals to a negligible one bar.
It was on that day that one of my best friends, and the first friend I felt I had ever made, passed away. Ivan had been in a coma for about two months now, and on this particular night in the later hours, his time had come. However, this is not a story about how he died. This is a story about how, inadvertently, I had the opportunity to save him.
Two years before he was ever in a coma, I had visited him in the little town he had lived in for most of his life. Things were going reasonably well for him after his years of leading a troubled life, and that brought a smile to my face. But things weren’t perfect for him, and he still desired change. As my visit with him came to a close he asked me a question that will forever burn in my heart.
“Can I pack my bags and move to L.A with you? I’d only need to crash on your couch for a few weeks until I get on my feet.”
Ivan didn’t have a car, at the time, and here was my friend asking me to take him away from a place he didn’t want to be anymore. But I hesitated, I knew his family was here, his support was here, and that the various opportunities he had built were here. Those are the reasons I told him I couldn’t, but they weren’t the real reasons I was against it.
The truth is I was scared. Scared of what my friends would think if I asked them, entirely out of the blue, if I could bring a stranger into our home for an unforeseeable amount of time. Scared of the strain I would bring upon my relationship with my fraternity by bringing an outsider into our house. Scared that one social circle might judge me for another. And worried that by colliding one with another, I would somehow lose both. Social anxiety and depression can be a bitch, to say the least about all of that.
I was so caught up in what society would think, that I didn’t even ask my fraternal brothers if Ivan could stay with us. I shut the discussion down, confident Ivan could make it on his own to L.A one day. That conversation has proven to be my singular biggest regret, and it didn’t even emerge until years later.
Mid 2017, Ivan has his car now. He’s still cruising around the same town, trading out his skateboard for a fancy ride. Things are going well for him, he’s got a good paying job, a car that he can call his own, and his nieces and nephews are all getting to grow up with their loving uncle nearby. I was so happy for him, life was just starting to go the way he wanted it to. Then the car crash came.
Truthfully, I can’t know what would have happened if I had brought Ivan down south with me. His life might have been worse off than in those following years. I doubt I would have lost him as a friend or the support of my fraternity brothers. What I do know, however, is that he’d still be alive today. He wouldn’t have been driving home from work that night on a dark country road, because he would have been three hundred miles away.
Whether or not I would have lost anyone is intangible. Whether his life would have been better off is the same. He’d still be alive today if I had the courage to at least ask. Sure, my housemates might have said no, but at least then I wouldn’t have the regret I do today.
So this is me sharing my life lesson; in the hopes that a conversation you have today doesn’t come back to fill you with regret years later. Don’t listen to society, or more importantly what you think society will say. Because in the end, the repercussions of our choices might just be worse than the intangible woes we imagine.