Cornerstone Content,  Writing

Addicted To A Certain Kind Of Sadness

Lately I’ve found that there’s a longing to visit locations and friends from my past. Locations and friends that not only helped raise me but also made me realize that there is so much more I could be. Tattoos and memories, integral to my development and well being, of which I held so near and dear to my heart. I sought solace in believing that they would always be there, the same ways in which they live in my memory; flawless, eternal and almost god-like until finally I realize that these friends are human and the locations are physical. All of this was nothing more than an idealist fantasy, made believable through my own childhood ignorance, denial, and wishful thinking.

I have learned through experience that very few, if anything at all ever stays the same. Locations will change, buildings decay or are reduced to rubble and taken away, childhood is a mere blink of an eye, and it isn’t until adulthood that one realizes this fact and regrets putting aside certain childhood experiences in the hopes that one still had plenty of time. There isn’t anything which time hasn’t touched, and this past year I made a genuine effort to meet up with old friends and visit the places where I used to roam as a child.

I came to realize that one can become addicted to a certain kind of sadness. For me, it is a certain form of sadness which results from loss. The loss of an old friend, the loss of an irreplaceable possession, or the loss of a location where one had many positive childhood experiences. Experiences, accomplishments, and accolades turn bittersweet all too soon, filling our minds and parlance with stories of days gone by, almost reminiscent of old times, resurrected as if the past were suddenly somehow superior to present.

And then there are regrets. From a very young age, I had regrets, coupled with the classic and typical, trivial and mundane, fears of childhood. There are so many things I wished I could have done, things I should have done, and perhaps a few things that I should never have done. But it’s too late now to change the past; all I can do at this point is to say that I’m sorry for everything I have done in my past which was wrong, was a mistake on my part, or worst of all, hurt someone in some way.

“People sometimes ask me if I could start my life over again, would I have done things differently? Truth is, if I could do it all again, I would have changed it all.”

Thomas Slatin

When I was 16, I had my first taste of love. I thought I knew what love was back then, but what did I really know? I realize now that my feelings were there, this kind of love was the unrequited kind, where I was in love with her, and she didn’t truly love me, she only loves things about me. I didn’t truly realize it at the time. I made many mistakes back then, and even bigger ones during the next few years, developing an unhealthy reliance upon the notion that I was young and there was always an infinite supply of, and seemingly never ending promises of brand new days. And with each new day came the promise that my mistakes if not corrected, would certainly be forgotten in time. I was also guilty of believing that I would live forever, now I’m not so sure, feeling my body get slowly weakened by the years, fearing that my time is often short, and I must make amends and make up for lost time. So much time.

When I was 18, I would become professionally certified as an Emergency Medical Technician in New York State, then at 20, I would earn a second certification as a Firefighter. The local newspaper, the Delaware County Times, would eventually run an article titled Thomas Slatin Is Career EMT, on March 10, 2000. Both certifications would eventually take me far in my young adult life, both professionally as well as to new places in which to roam. I truly believed that I had everything going for me and that I would  be an EMT/Firefighter for the rest of my life. Eventually I was offered the position of EMT/Firefighter Lieutenant many years later, but decided to decline the position, realizing that I would much rather pursue my passion for writing and photography. I was younger then, I was reckless and wild, living for the moment instead of focusing on my future goals in the assumption that my dreams would eventually come true as long as I was doing something productive, even if it were completely unrelated.

On the morning of February 23, 2013, my father passed away at age 97. I was 33 at the time. It was an enormous loss, considering that my father had often joked that he would live forever, and in the handful of years before he died, he suggested that he had something that he needed to tell me which was important, but would need to wait until the time was right. Unfortunately, he never had the opportunity to do so. Several written works were inspired by his incredible life and of our shared experiences. My favorite piece was entitled Generation Gap. In the months to follow, I became increasingly curious as to the contents of an old cardboard box which had been stashed in a back room, which still bared my name, and was part of the contents from my personal belongings from when my family moved from New York City when I was around age 8. The box contained random belongings, including a handful of cassette tapes which I had recorded as a young, curious child.

I realize now that the older I get, the less impulsive I become, yet the same simple fears still cloud my mind. Fears that if I focus enough, I can almost trace them to my youth. I remember seeking the advice of my high school English teacher in my senior year, who suggested that I devote my life to writing. Later on that year, I sought out the advice of my art teacher, who taught me an enormous amount about philosophy, yet ironically, very little about art. Both teachers gave me the advice to take a good, concentrated look at where one is in life every so often to appreciate what one has accomplished and as a means to determine and evaluate ones future goals and plans. Since then I have made a conscious effort to do this self assessment ever so often, and to do a major self assessment every 10 years. I’ll be turning 40 soon, and realize that despite all that I have been through, worked hard to overcome, and the things which I accomplished, even if by chance or accident, generally I have not given myself enough credit.

The quote for this article came from this post. The header image came from the post, Game Day.

Not Taking Enough Pictures Is Something I Regret | Will The Memories Die? | Snapshots And Memories And Days Of My Youth | I Used To Be A Habitual Trespasser | Some Ways To Help Deal With Loss | Fears And Regrets | Chasing Cars


  • Vanessa

    I’m familiarized with this type of sadness. I have lived it many times in my life because I have travelled a lot because of my job. When I’ve cameback to these places I realice that they didn’t miss me and they ave changed and that make me feel nostagic.

    • Thomas

      Nostalgia often times presents itself as emotional baggage and reservations about the past, especially when one is faced with the loss of a loved one who passed away long before their time. All that remains is the faces and the names; imprinted forever in our minds are generally things such as the last things people said as they were leaving. Any attempts to prevent things from changing is futile and often results in an acceleration of change.

  • Latisha

    Your story reminds me of when i was in my teenage when i used to worry literally about everything. Now when i look back, i know the things that used to worry me so much were not as important as i thought were. So inspiring.

  • Miaka Yuuki

    Nostalgia is a strong emotion for sure. However I do not associate it with sadness. On contrary, it makes me smile remembering the good days.

  • brainedet

    This piece have brought about memories and the need for me to go visit some people I have really missed. This is so nostalgic.

  • Rizzee Cerdeñola

    Everyone feels sad when exposed to certain situations. It could be death of a loved one, breakup and so on. However, we need to focus on the positive sad of life and acceptance is the key

  • Lizel Marte

    It’s a good thing to be sad. this makes us feel grateful at the end of our sadness especially when we realize that what we have now is a product of all our endeavors and hardships. Sadness makes our life a spectrum of emotions.

  • Lena's Notebook (@lenasnotebook)

    this is truly a beautiful and honest post – thank you for sharing.

    I think everyone has regrets about their past – mostly not doing things they should have! Me included.

    But, onwards and upwards. 🙂

    best wishes,

  • Maury Cheskes

    Loss can be a powerful detriment. I feel for your regrets, but I think you should remember that you can’t go back in time so you should embrace the choices you’ve made. They’ve made you who you are as a unique individual. I admire your versatility in career choices and I’m sure that will translate into good writing. I think an important thing for you and everyone in your position would be to forgive yourself and carry on with a positive outlook.

  • Katricia

    I strongly believe that the actions of the past is a great reminder for the present and a teacher for the future. To regret those actions, would change who you are today. Instead use those good and bad moments to stir you into the direction that you want to go in. This was a very powerful post and I hope your words speak to those in similar spaces.

  • jolly555

    I sometimes remember my past and I wish could turn back the hands of time, This post has brought back emotions and will love to visit my past.

  • Kathleen

    Just like you, I have a lot of regrets in my life. But we all can’t undo the past. We just need to learn from it. I am also addicted to sadness before but dwelling in the past will do us no good. The only time we have is now. No past, no future. Just live and savor every moment so that you’ll experience life more.

  • Zack Bailey

    The level of self-awareness you have is astonishing. Just keep going and doing, pal. You’ve come a long way.

  • bestietalks

    I have moved many times in my life. I left home at 17 and moved to different cities and states for the past 12 years. I know those feelings and can completely relate. Thank you for sharing !

    • Thomas

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment! I have moved for work several times over the years, and am hoping that soon I will finally be able to find my forever home as I’m getting too old to constantly pick up and re-establish myself somewhere new.

  • Jasmin

    I’m not able to stay at one place for a long times for some reason. Perhaps because we moved so often when I was younger.
    Such a heartfelt post.


    • Thomas

      I was unable to stay in one place for very long due to the demands of work and trying to make a living. There comes a time, later in life when we decide that making a life is more important than making a living. If someone truly has enough money to survive, athen the insatiable desire for more becomes excess and greed.

  • whatrachdidnext

    You’ve achieved so much. You definitely deserve more credit than you give yourself. A very interesting and thought provoking post. Thank you

  • Dylan R.

    You know that’s actually a great idea of having a self-assessment every once in a while. I think it will help us redirect ourselves to things that we truly want. Although I found your “addiction” to this certain kind of sadness quite insightful. I think for a short bit in life I found myself in that position too, where I for lack of better word wallowed in what others would see as pain and sorrow, but looking back now I think that was a certain kind of addiction.

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