Assignment: sum up your life in six words
Often times I find myself regretting a lot. And I hate to regret. If I had been more brave or bold, if I had just gone with my gut or just followed my heart then I wouldn’t be stuck looking back wishing I had done something differently, or made a better decision, or stuck with my instinct, before it was too late. Regret is the most annoying feeling because no matter what you do or how hard you wish you could have a do over or even how much it bothers you or stays on your mind, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. You then spend endless amounts of time repeating the scenario over in your mind and envisioning yourself doing it differently, hoping that some miracle will occur allowing yourself to go backwards in time and do it all over again, the right way. And yet, you know that will never happen and your forced to get over it, accept it and move on, perhaps learn from it and do better the next time. But what happens when the regret is so big, so life changing, that not even time can heal your wounds?
Fortunately I haven’t found this to be true for myself. Sure, I have plenty of regrets but nothing major. I would love to repeat 10th grade when I drank too much on the night of homecoming and ended up in the hospital or the time I forgot one of my best friend’s birthdays. Actually, I’d probably do high school all over again right my wrongs and take things more seriously. However, life doesn’t work like that, you don’t get a daily time machine, all you can do is live and learn.
It’s interesting because when you look back at all of the things you wish you’d done differently, you realize that those moments make up who you are. For starters, now, I’m conscious of my hate of regret and so when I’m forced with a complex, I ask myself, is this something I’m going to look back and be proud of? Or, if I choose not to do it or not to say something, will I be disappointed in myself for missing out on the opportunity? It’s not a fool proof plan by any means. Sometimes I don’t even have to ask myself before it’s too late and the moment has passed for me to do something that I wanted to. For example, I write a fashion column for the school’s paper, The Spectrum, and today I needed to ask someone if I could take a picture of them. The girl was a prime model of what I was looking for, and yet I couldn’t find the courage or confidence to walk over to where she was sitting with her friends and interrupt her with my request. It’s just plain awkward, but that’s what this column calls me to do, go up to random people and ask them about their outfits and take pictures, and I signed up for it so as I’m just starting out, I hope I’ll get better.
However, the best decision I’ve probably ever made resulted in asking myself whether or not I was going to regret it in the long run. It was my freshmen year and my Papa, living in Florida, had been sick for a very long time. He was dying slowly over the course of four or five months and every time I saw him I would have to say goodbye in fear that it would be the last time I saw him. In early November, 2009, my mom called me to tell me she was flying to Florida to say that final goodbye, that it was time. It was unreal because it didn’t seem plausible that he would ever really leave us, especially with the amount of goodbye kisses we had bid him so many times. I was torn whether or not I too, should fly down and see him and be there for my Mama, the person who means the most to me in this world. For some, it may not have required a lot of thought, but with me, an avid student who never missed a class, and in the middle of her very first college semester, it wasn’t an easy decision. But, in the grand scheme of things I realized there will always be school, there won’t always be my Papa and I was right. That night I booked my flight and left early the next morning. I surprised my whole family, even my mom, and spent the day with my Papa. That night he passed away in his sleep, had I not have made the ultimate decision to fly down and be there with him, I would have regretted it for the rest of my life.
Sadly for some, that decision often comes too late and many people are forced wishing and exchanging promises with God, I’d give anything for another minute…