There are many mistakes I've made in life, many times I've jumped too quickly or not contained my initial reaction well enough to avoid repercussions. Generally I try not to regret my actions or their consequences as I believe that life is built on a balance of positives and negatives, and that the art of life is to have shades and contours.
That said, there have been things I have done and said in my life that I deeply regret because of the pain they have caused others. I carry these moments in the back of my mind always and sometimes have to fight the temptation to contact someone out of the blue to apologise for something that happened ten years ago. But I still carry that feeling of unfinished business because I never apologised to the level I feel I should have.
My dad tells me to not hold on to the past so much, to live and let live so to speak but that's where he and I are very different creatures.
The demons I live with aren't drink or drugs but the echoes of my memories, the apologies and the should haves. To be able to go back and explain my thinking (or lack of) to someone in the right moment, that's my selfish self-centred wish.
I can blame being autistic as much as I want but that doesn't excuse all actions, it's not a get out of jail free card. No matter how difficult I may find it to put myself in others shoes that doesn't mean I shouldn't try at times, that doesn't mean I should get away with not thinking about what I know about someone before reacting.
There are many times in life that I've taken difficulties and times of stress and made them into things that I've learnt from, things that have built me but there have also been tines that have chipped at me, that eat me up from the inside and take me two steps backwards.
I've always been a "lazy achiever" - got by in school because the concepts made sense to me, school level work came naturally and easily. But when I had to really work for something I struggled, I stuck my head in the metaphorical sand and procrastinated on things that shouldn't have been my priority, often things that helped others giving me a sense of achievement and satisfaction to mask my growing anxiety about whatever it was I was avoiding.
I know some hard conversations lay ahead of me and it's time to face the music on a few choices I've made recently, even if I didn't consciously realise I was making a choice at the time.
I hope I look back on this period of life as a building block to the person I become, and not an echo I can never shake.