Thursday Thoughts: The Wheres, The Whens and the Whys

Thursday Thoughts: The Wheres, The Whens and the Whys

When the thought hit me the other day that it was in late April 1992 – 27 years ago – that I moved to the Tampa Bay area, it finally dawned on me: as of a few years ago, I officially have lived more than half my life in this part of the country. When people ask me where I’m from, my standard answer is born in Chicago but grew up in Naples, FL. But heck, I should just say Tampa Bay. After all, I’ve spent 27 of my 49 years right here. I’m practically a native, right?


I think about a lot of things lately. Maybe a little too much contemplation. I hear that comes with age. I’ve been an old soul all my life, so actual years of living on the planet only compounds my overanalysis and frequent wandering and second-guessing of the past, more often now than over the past 20 years. I used to be someone who dwelled in the past, when I was much younger. Then as I turned toward building my professional background and cultivating relationships, I turned a cheek to the past and decided I didn’t want to go there. But something changed in my 40s and I could not help returning there from time to time. It may be all of that wondering about what moves we made and those we didn’t, about mistakes and wonderful unexpected treats that land on our doorstep. I’m sure diving into the world of writing fiction also tapped into my own collection of experiences from which I pulled particular characters and emotions and rebuilt and repackaged them as these new people in my novel and short stories. So I can blame the writing then for dredging up all of this wistfulness.



I made a mistake 27 years ago today. A big one. Thankfully, with a little help from a paralegal and a nice county judge, I undid that mistake as best I could a year and a half later. Ultimately, that big mistake led me here and that in turn, led me to some other wonderful people and opportunities. But each year when May 23 comes around, I’m like one of Pavolov’s dogs, only I’m not drooling over the occasion but more like dreading it.




I knew I was too young to get married then. I knew he was the wrong guy. I knew it shouldn’t happen. And like a lot of other people do, I still went through with it because all of those out-of-towners had already flown in, the invites were sent, the flowers and food ordered, etc. I’ve written about this before in an essay. (Click here to read it.)


Twenty-seven years ago today I began accruing the baggage I still carry to this day. We all have some, though I know some travel lighter than others.  I can say oh, I don’t have any of that hanging over me, but I’d be lying. You can’t ‘unhear’ things said to you, even if it were many moons ago and by someone who isn’t around anymore, I mean, literally, not on this Earth anymore. I suppose had I pursued hypnotherapy like the character in my first book, THE MUSE UNLOCKED, perhaps I could learn how to ‘unhear’ that. Hmm…


We can ask ourselves even 27 years later — why? — but we won’t have any better an answer than we did then for saying to ourselves why not, even when we grimaced at the thought of making such a mistake. Maybe we’d be wrong about it. Even though our gut has been right, oh, just about every single time in our life.


We can look back at the dates, remember where we were, who else was with us and what purpose for us being there but some memories carry additional question words — like How? How did we ever get through that day? Why? Why did we not trust our gut this one very important time? When? When will we ever stop letting thoughts creep into our mind now about that other time, those other people and our not-so-favorite mistakes?

Do you have thoughts like that which pop into the brain from time to time — pieces of stowed away baggage that seem to drop out of the storage compartment on occasion to remind you once again that yes, you really did do that stupid fucking thing that you would very much like to forget about but can’t possibly put out of your mind. Sigh.


Let’s give ourselves a break and a good healthy dose of forgiveness. Maybe we could take a vacation with that baggage…Santorini? Oooh. Rest up, fellow baggage stowers. We owe it to ourselves to find a way to get rid of that baggage for good. Forget the storing — let’s pitch it completely.  I am on a mission to get TLC and HGTV on that stash of recollections not worth recollecting.  Who’s with me?!  Baggage like this can be crippling. I guess it’s time to Google mental junk haulers. They better bring a LOT of boxes.


As always, thanks for reading. ~ Chris K.



(photo source,



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