Broken by Heart

Regrets. There’s nothing worse to endure. The worst regrets emerge from the failure to follow the heart — to go against it.

The worst part about this failure is that it doesn’t work. See, the heart is a bastard. It doesn’t break when you don’t listen to it – it breaks you. It blocks you from doing whatever records the mechanics of society expect of you. Society often demands what seems to be easy but that sickens your heart. The easy way cages you in gold, but the heart’s way forces you to spread your wings and explore the world. Playing both ends is a dangerous game, it can even be fatal. You’ll always be torn between two opposite forces. Neither the heart nor society will ever compromise. The only gray area between the two is you and a shitload of regrets.

People with no regrets are either rare, like prophets, or – in most cases – heartless. Sometimes it’s hard not to be envious of the heartless.

I feel old and tired. A friend of mine recently told me that I sound like someone with a midlife crisis. I’m 34 now – technically that’s half the life expectancy in the country where I grew up. People keep reminding me that I’m still young. But I feel old and tired. There used to be a time when I woke up every day with fire in my eyes. Now, I feel like a candle in a wind tunnel. Every time I try to flame, I get blown out. I have made so many easy yet wrong choices in my life that I have painted myself into a corner – checkmate.

Don’t be like me. If you have a heart, either follow it to the end, or kill the bastard. Whatever you choose, the only way forward is to commit.

The worst things that happened to me when I was younger were all the compliments and expressions of admiration directed at my potential. Ever since I was in elementary school, as far as I remember, adults around me boosted my ego. This continued until the end of my late twenties, when people of “high statuses” would tell me that mine was going to be a great future. I should’ve ignored those people, but I know how to ignore them now. I can clearly see how big of a failure I have turned out to be. I feel like a failure not because I was unable to live up to their expectations. I feel like a failure because I could, yet I wouldn’t.

My heart’s ego is bigger than mine. It’s bigger than anything those people could ever boost. It tells me better be small and empty rather than large and full of it.

There is no doubt I’ve always had potential – we all do. Every one of us has a unique face, voice, and fingerprint – that’s just the physics of who we are. Considering how advanced our neurobiology is, it’s hard to fathom how in a world full of keyboards people are not challenged to be exceptional in how they think and what they say. They are not challenged to speak up against the outdated, over-privileged, out-of-touch, self-proclaimed “gatekeepers”. Our social order is a pyramid scheme in which a tiny minority on the top speaks over and dominates the bottom. It’s a one-way traffic – top-down. It’s cruel – shark-tank cruel. The higher you go, the deeper you dig. Otherwise, you end up living on the base to degrade. If you care for your heart, exit the pyramid.

The heart wants a city of lights. It beats: New York, New York – or whatever’s left of that dream.

I feel so old and tired, but I had to age to learn. I had to go out there, get crushed, get tough and live with it. I wish I could win back the last ten years of my life. I wish I could erase my regrets somehow. I can’t, though. My regrets are now a part of me. They are my compass. They have transformed me into an empty vessel, so now I can finally crave for the truth. This is not the worst ending, is it? It’s a mid-life crisis and not an end-of-life crisis.

Luckily, my heart still wants what it wants.

Written, edited, and finalized between 27 November and 10 December 2021

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