There are moments in life when we wonder if we’ve made the right choices. The realization of all of your decisions up until that very point, when you’re standing and thinking and your skin erupts in gooseflesh; when your brain dissects with computer-like precision all of the alternate paths you could have taken, the many different lives you could have led, the different places and times you could have lived in- it can hit you like the much-cliched “ton of bricks”. You feel the weight of each of those bricks being carried on your proverbial back, laden and created with the guilt, anger, and sadness you’ve experienced up until then.

Only when you come to peace with who you’ve become can you fully appreciate that those bricks you’ve been carrying have made you stronger. With each added brick, you’ve strained yourself, you’ve torn your metaphorical biceps and quads, but they’ve repaired themselves and they’ve become stronger. If the you from back then (the one before all those hard decisions) were to heft that bag of bricks, it would crush them. As you’ve progressed, you’ve been able to handle more and more – and when you’re ready, you’ll find a nice spot to settle down – realization that you’ve become who you want to be. You’ll take those bricks and you’ll create a solid foundation on which to build the rest of your life.

You’ll know who you are, and while it’s okay to wonder “what if” – you’ll be wondering not while carrying all that weight on your back, but from the cozy confines of something you built for yourself from all that pain and hard work. A future, an identity, a sense of self.

I’m not so sure I’m at that point yet, but when I look at everything I have – I know I’m close. I just need a few more bricks.