A Wasted Life

A messy life sometimes leads to a messy room. Scanning my luxury cell, I feel overwhelmed with boxes, unopened mail, and clothes scattered. My only place of comfort is the bed which is uncomfortable for sitting or sleeping.

I knew the end would be lonely, but I didn’t realize my conclusion would be a wasted life. My children owed an apology for bringing them into the world, and a wish they were born to a better mother. Acknowledging my failures and admitting my life a total failure was a disturbing epiphany, a rude awakening.

Having children brought out the fighter in me. I had to protect them. What I didn’t realize was I needed to change our environment to a positive, supportive community. Instead, I fought to change theirs to what I believed would give them the chances I never had. I wanted the best for my children even if it meant sacrificing my happiness. However, the best part of anything comes from feelings of love and so most memories are grounded in emotions and not material things.

Brief Background

My mother is a fighter, and through her, I had a fighter instinct.  My father was the opposite. Through my father, I learned compassion and empathy for those less fortunate. He changed our diapers not my mother.

After my mother was forced to care for us because of his death, she provided a roof over our heads and food on the table. Something she never let us forget.  None of us have criminal records, and we all have advanced degrees.  Not having received love herself or education, she knew no better.  I have few happy memories of my childhood such as times spent with my father and youngest brother.

Growing up without affection or ever hearing the word love, affected me in ways I didn’t understand until a few years ago.  Having Catholicism branded into my brain, I learned to feel guilt, shame or discomfort in every compliment or experience of joy.  What a life!

Losing my father and my best friend (my little brother), the two people whose love I could consistently count on made it difficult for me to trust. It felt as if the rug was always being pulled from under me the moment I got on my feet.   I followed through on my promise to be a doctor. In the process of keeping that promise, my world started to unravel in profound ways. I could not control the emptiness and deep melancholy piercing my soul. Even in the midst of close friends, I felt incredibly alone and disconnected.

I wanted kids to carry on my father’s genes, but I didn’t want to have them out-of-wedlock, so that meant marriage ASAP then kids as I was turning 30. If I had waited, I might not have been able to have kids as I had early menopause.

When I got married, my self-esteem was at an all-time low. I didn’t look for love just any man who showed me love and kindness. After Yale I was shell-shock, my residency was brutal on so many dimensions. I didn’t attend my medical school graduation or celebrated completing my residency. That was my passive-aggressive response to seven years of training where I learned about evil people and felt bludgeoned into wearing a mask to be accepted by people who innately despised me.

Foolishly, I hoped marriage would offer an opportunity to start over and forget the pain of the past. I didn’t put much effort into selecting a mate, and no one told me bad marriages caused irreparable damage.  Seems obvious but I was a clueless young woman.  Yup, my life was one big mistake after another. I’m sorry for my children because they will bear the brunt of my foolishness and selfish behavior.  They didn’t ask to be in this world or to have a crazy mom.

What are the lessons learned from a wasted life? Please don’t be me and let your life be a total waste. Listen to your body and that little voice inside you called intuition. If following your intuition leads to failure then that failure was necessary for your growth. Trust your intuition over other people’s advice.

While you cannot choose your family or your childhood environment, here are some things you can do to avoid the pitfalls of a wasted life.

1. Take time to know and understand you. The only way to do that is to love and trust yourself.  Take time to do things you enjoy as well as time to reflect. Start with a journal of gratitude. At the end of each day focus on things that made you happy that day even on those days where everything seemed to go wrong, find three simple things that made you thankful.  That simple act of journaling gratitude can be a powerful force in channeling positive energy.
To find inner peace and make good choices you have to learn to love yourself first.  #SelfLove #SelfAcceptance

2.  Material things don’t bring happiness or inner peace. It also doesn’t define success. When young, as tempting as it may be and especially if you come from poverty as I did, don’t waste money on material things that depreciate. Often material things become baggage, tying you to a past long forgotten. Spend money wisely on investments that grow in importance as time passes. Spend time investing in an environment filled with love.

When I first started making money, I wanted clothes because I grew up wearing hand me downs. I don’t recall wearing any clothes that were bought just for me. If clothing or jewelry was new, my mother claimed it. When I was married, I used shop therapy to mask my pain and unhappiness. At one time, half my closet was filled with clothes, shoes, and bags that still had the tags on them not because I intended to return them but because an occasion never came up for me to wear those clothes.

Today I can’t give those clothes away fast enough.  #InvestInLove

3. Surround yourself with positive, trustworthy people who respect and believe in you. Your environment eventually defines you. Surrounding yourself with reliable people who respect and believe in you is a way of creating a strong foundation on which to build a prosperous future for generations to come.

I didn’t think and so surrounded myself with trees instead of people who inspired or cared about me. In the end, I found myself alone and without anyone to trust. #BuildACommunityOfTrust for yourself.

I survived adulthood because of the good graces of friends and strangers I met along the way but didn’t take the time to know. Many who helped were strangers; in my mind, they were angels sent by my father and brother to comfort me during the darkest moments of life.

A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn. – Unknown

Learn from a person whose life was a big mistake. Don’t make a mess of yours! This time I didn’t make the turn and it’s too late but not for you.

Here are some of my favorite inspirational quotes:

Quotes on Life



Author: Angela Grant

Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

18 thoughts on “A Wasted Life

  1. Sage advice there, Angela; I agree with every word in those three points.

    I will add just this conclusion: life is not a rehearsal. Unlike say being a singer who can practise until perfect, making many mistakes along the way and probably in their first performances, with life we only have the one chance.

    Therefore don’t be too hard on yourself/ourselves. Instead learn from the bad experience, congratulate oneself that you got through it, and then try ensuring it won’t happen again. Think of “mistakes” as opportunities to grow. It is those that give us our unique personality and therefore more interesting to know. Life would be boring if it all went well.

    In other words, be positive….

    1. Hi Pete, isn’t following my heart a positive action? We place different values on things and that value changes with time. The value of life vs. death is no different. It changes with time.

  2. Angela Angela, the advice you give you can still do yourself. Stop thinking about the past there’s nothing you can do about it. I’m 66 years young if The Most High is willing I should have another 25-30 years at least that’s how I look at it. Hopefully I’ll get some of the things I want to do accomplish. I’m looking into prepaying for funeral arrangements and I have life insurance so my daughters don’t have to worry about other things that might arise. The only thing to I kind of worry about is being in the will my Holy Father. As you know by now because you really can’t conceive it until in your fifties and sixties just how short life is, just take it one day at a time. That’s what I’m trying to do what’s going on in the world 🌎 today can drive you crazy with worry, don’t let that happen! Clean up that room, go through those boxes 📦 one at a time get rid of stuff you don’t need. You can do it ! SMILE 😃!

    1. Hey Rudy, I can do it only to feel the same a few months later. I don’t want to anymore. I’m following my heart.

      It’s great to see you looking for another 20-30 years. I wish those become the best years of your life.

  3. All of the challenges that we faced are part of our greatness, Don’t count yourself out on what was done back then when is part of the testimony.

  4. Angela you had a tuff life more so than most but there been others that had it worse. If you want to give up that’s your life and decision to make. I think you’re wrong but respect your right to choose what’s best for you.

    1. Death by euthanasia, maybe, but not suicide. The latter is illegal, unsafe and degrading, plus might put at risk a bystander trying to save you and most likely will disturb your family & friends.

      Like Rudy wrote it’s your decision Angela, but it is one that I will not respect.

      Those are my final words on this very disturbing matter.

      I wish you peace of mind, Angela, but among those of us who think life is precious.

      1. Pete, I know how you feel. There are people who for a variety of reasons want to end their lives. It’s interesting to read about them helping each other select the best method. Most don’t want their family to suffer, and you see immediately it’s not a decision taken lightly or an easy one. Organizations are willing to facilitate the process for a price. They offer estate services, etc. There is a business growing in this area for those interested.

        What’s sad is that most people don’t understand and miss the opportunity to spend precious time with someone who will be no more.

  5. I want you to know that God pulled me out of the pit when I thought I was worthless and should just take my life and end it all. It is a lie from the enemy who tells us we are a person “whose life was a big mistake”. Rebuke Satan! Jesus Christ died for you and me, Angela. Only without Jesus, am I as good as dead. Find life in him. He is waiting for you and knew you before you were born as you were formed in your mother’s womb. You are PRECIOUS in his sight. He knows your thoughts and your desires. God loves you my dear and that is all any of us need.

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