Via email, text, Facebook messenger, and phone, I asked people a simple question: Was it worth it?
The stipulation to my question was that I couldn’t explain the question. This led me to receive a plethora of answers, from serious to sweet to dark to simply hilarious. Unfortunately, I had to rule a few out of the pool because they were too like other responses. For those of you reading this, I apologize if yours didn’t make the cut.
I promised those who participated anonymity; I am the only reader who knows the identity of the writers.
To obtain a range of responses, I asked folks from all walks of life. Young, ancient, successful and the struggling, artistic, retired, everyone. Some gave short, while others returned extended responses. All, however, provided perspectives. And I loved it. I hope you will, too.
Take something away, or nothing at all; either is fine. Just ask yourself, was it really worth it?
Yes. I can't change my decisions. Maybe I'll give it some value and make it worth it but I can’t predict my future. If I try to predict it, I fall into depression. Maybe that's not worth it.
Yes, but I never inhaled.
Absolutely. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
It was worth it. I’m finally content with my life. I feel happy and I’m learning what I love.
I think it’s always worth it. Life is about experience. No matter what I choose, I’m always going to second-guess myself. So, might as well take the chance and go for it when you can. If you had asked me that question about four years ago, I think I would have said no. But, I’m in a better place now than I was then.
Yes. It got me where I am today. We can’t dwell in the past, because when we do, we ignore the present, as well as the future.
In a way, it was worth it, but sometimes I regret what I did. That’s all.
The more I think about it, the answer is no. It wasn’t worth it. I wanted to do it and even felt glad I did it for a short while after. I didn't even feel bad for doing it. I had fulfilled all my sexual desires from start to end. And it was everything I expected, plus so much more. It was a rush of euphoria... We locked eyes in that intimate moment. I nudged the cement blocks into the water and felt raw excitement. As the length of rope got shorter, I felt this warmth all over my body. As he was pulled into the frigid ocean water, my legs got heavy and I almost fell in. Fortunately, I caught myself and balanced while watching the bubbles rise to the surface. The last bubble popped and I almost passed out. This was better than any orgasm I have had in my entire life. That's why it wasn't worth it. I knew I would want more and would have to do it again to reach that same high.
Wow. Yes, it was. I ended up with a wonderful son.
I think it was. Whether things went to plan or ended the way I wanted is a separate question, entirely. But in the end, it gave me experience. In one form or another, I learned. There were pros and cons, sure, yet overall, I think it served a larger purpose.
Coming from cold negative degree weather in Ohio and in a blink, so, being in the Florida sun, it was a sight to see. Like Clark Kent to Superman, I was ready to go. Laughing, high-fiving, hugging everybody. Do a pocket check. Where the fuck is my wallet? 600 cash, credit cards, ID, my ticket home. I rummage around my shit thinking maybe the first couple Fireballs are just playing tricks on me. I check the bathroom, luggage, nothing. I can't find my wallet the first 2 hours I land. Need a drink and figure it out. As I go back to the bar where we first started, about to drink like Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber waiting for Mary to meet him at the bar, the bartender said, Hey, [T], did you check out by the picnic table? People were dancing around it, but as I walked out to the end of the bench, I saw something black half covered with sand. I reached down and it was my wallet. I could not believe it. I didn't know the people around me, but I gave them all hugs, laughing so hard. I went into the bar with that round of people and said, drinks on me! I didn’t care if it cost a thousand dollars; it was all a win! A metal band was playing at the time and I’m not one to thrash, but I let it all out at that point. Was the Fireball and egg hangover worth it the next morning, celebrating with good buddies? Damn right, it was!
Yes, it was worth it. I have so many memories. It changed my life for the better and it’s who I am today because of him.
Yes. Because if I hadn't done it? I'd have wondered about it for the rest of my life. Lying in bed at night, thinking "what if?" will eat your brain. "Life is short. Death is forever. Go joyfully. Nothing left undone."
I find this to be a hard question to answer. My mind instantly takes me to a lot of different times in my life when I made poor decisions, good decisions, wasted time on something, etc. Everything I think of, however, comes with too many positives and negatives to decide cleanly if it was "worth it" or not. If I invest a ton of time into my schooling/career, it has professional pay offs but costs me time with friends and family. Every time I date a girl and break up, there's a big emotional toll, but leaves me with great memories and important discoveries about myself. I like to think that everything is worth it if you learn something and don't second guess yourself. Although, that whole answer is probably just a huge rationalization for the fact that I fuck up a lot.
Wait, is your question "Was it worth it?” If so, I think I would answer that it was worth every second. What the heck are you getting at?
Never. Our own desire is the self-satisfaction of raising the bar and besting what we've already done.
When I chose to go to college out of state I didn't realize how much my life would change. I lost all my friends and not just in that "we drifted apart" way. People were bitter and almost hostile. But I walked away. I haven't been back to my hometown in about 20 years. Was it worth it? Like I said, I didn't know how my life would change. My college experience got me a job and a husband, but, too, it confirmed my gut feeling that there was more out there and it's worth the risk.
Fuck, man, in life, you only die once. None of this yolo shit. You live every day, so do what you want.
Of course. So, there's this thought experiment shared by Alan Watts, that I will do my best to summarize. Imagine you can control your dreams. You dream you live in a world with everything you've ever wanted. But, as nights go on, you get bored. To solve this, you add challenges that would make yourself unable to predict anything, then you could choose to forget you are in a dream. Eventually, you end up living the life you are now. Whether I experience something as good or bad or anything in between, I ultimately wouldn't want it any differently. The experience itself is what is "worth it.” The thought experiment shows me that preference is a facade when it comes to the innate biological desire to live at all.
Everything I've ever done has been worth it. Whether it was a lesson learned or it was just plain fucking fun, I found out if I should or shouldn’t do it again.
I don't know. I mean, I'm here. I think I would have kinda fallen into comfortable living if I'd decided differently. Teaching, maybe grad school, the same people and places...but, as hard as this past month has been, I have the opportunity to make something here. Something that's mine. Something that requires getting down into the dirt. I don't want to live my life happily perched on my family's shoulders. I want lungs burning. I want work. I don't want to be left wondering what could have been. I'm pretty miserable a lot of the time; I think I'd be happier right now if I choose the other thing, if I went the other way. But, it's worth the risk. You can't always play the house. I think, at some point, you've got to bet on yourself. So, yeah, worth it.
No way, man. If I could go back and change anything, I'd go right back to that moment and do everything differently. My entire character and the way everybody looks at me was changed just with one simple act. The worst part is, even in that moment, I knew I would come to regret it all. Somehow that didn't change the way things went.
Yes, I think so. One of the hardest parts was just making myself get up and shake the dust off even though I was tired. I had to put one foot in front of the other. I had to tell myself over and over, "You need this. This is good for you." I got myself together. I got everything together. Everything fell into place. I set it all out on the table before me. Then I had to make a choice. The most difficult choice I had ever faced. Blueberry Mini Wheats, or Raisin Bran?
Yes, because they are here.
It's never worth it. The worth comes for the inequities poured into it to make it worth it. Someone always comes out under, and it's overwhelmingly you. Accept that life is shit, and nothing you do will ever matter. Do anything for yourself despite others. It's all about you, which means we're all doomed to die.
Always. Whatever we do, at some point, it is exactly what we want.
Definitely. I am the type of person who tries to live without regrets. If I decide to do something, it’s because I know it will benefit me. So, if I’m happy with myself, then yes, it is almost always worth it.
With that question and those parameters, I can only answer this way...
Sometimes I wonder about that. Was it worth the hours of questioning myself and everything I stood for? Was it worth the tears? Was it worth every minute I wondered if I could even keep doing this? Yes. At the time, I thought it was right. At the time, I thought I'd never made a better decision. Hindsight is 20/20, though. You live and you learn and promise yourself you won't make the same mistake, but then history repeats itself. So, was it worth it? You tell me.