Last night after completing my nightly routine of washing my face, staring at it in a magnifying mirror and groaning, brushing my teeth and flossing since I have “my mother’s gums,” as said by my dental hygienist this past Monday, and applying lavender essential oil behind my ears, because yes of course I use essential oils, the phone rang.
Self admittedly, I’m not a phone person. I’m not the friend that picks up the phone and calls everyone often. I’ve always been a better texter, seeing as it gives me the chance to edit and articulate my words and especially as a writer, that’s always been appealing. However, I appreciate that there’s something authentic, albeit vulnerable about hearing the sound of someone else’s voice. There’s no planning, copying and pasting or editing your words, they just come as they are.
So in the midst of my phone call last night, I was asked a personal question, you know, the meat and potatoes of all late night phone conversation. The vulnerable, raw, but good unmasking of the personality that Dashboard Confessional songs are bred from
“What is the one thing you regret in your life the most?”
I was silent.
Part of me was caught off guard, you know, since most people my age use the phone for everything but phone calls that contain deep and insightful subject matter. But I was silent, not because I have some life-changing opinion-altering deep, dark secret I was afraid to share. Not because I’m embarrassed of my past shortcomings. No, it wasn’t any of that. I thought for a moment, and then for a few more before replying back,
“I actually have no idea.”
What a killjoy I am, right? How the hell are you supposed to get to know somebody who can’t even give an open answer to a candid personal question?
Now I’ve been thinking about it since. Since 10:25 pm last night, I’ve been sincerely wondering what my deepest regret is. Spoiler alert: I’ve still come up with nothing.
Is is even remotely possible I’m living a life of no regrets?
Part of me hopes this. The other part is hoping I haven’t gravely dissociated myself from all traumatic past events of my life and am currently living in a happy, impermeable bubble of rainbows and fluffy, long-haired unicorns. Based on the fact that I’ve managed to make peace with even my greatest and most impressive fuck ups, however, I’m thinking not.
Thinking back on all the things I’ve royally screwed up, I’ve always ended up okay. I’m sitting here right now, on a laptop I bought myself, bearing my soul to the internet, after all.
Is regret simply a matter of perspective?
This isn’t to say either that my life has been pretty drama free and I don’t have much to regret, because it hasn’t. The majority of my childhood was pretty traumatic, to be blunt, and some of the decisions I’ve made coming out of it have been pretty stupid on top of that. But even my greatest losses, my deepest wounds and heartbreaks… they’ve all given me a perspective I’m so infinitely grateful for. At the time, obviously, I wasn’t prancing about during my worst moments thinking, “This is going to give me a great handle on life someday!” Nah, at the time I can assure you I was a pretty miserable little fucker. But even with the poor decisions I’ve made (we all make mistakes, and are bound to make more) I’ve always attempted to take away something I learned from every instance on the list of Jeanine’s Personal Fuckery.
At this moment of 1:17 pm Eastern Standard Time, I don’t have any huge life regrets that I feel have so gravely impacted me that I can recall them in just a few seconds on a phone call. I don’t think even the mistakes I’ve made that have been purely of my own merit are worth beating myself over the head with in the present. Why? Probably because I haven’t accidentally killed someone yet. Or maybe because even in wake of all the truly heartbreaking, shocking, life changing mistakes we can make, there is hope, and lessons to be learned for the future, if you want to take them with you.
Needless to say, being 24 years 6 months and 16 days old, I’m still what most consider young and therefore, still have plenty of time to make some huge mistakes I might very well end up regretting. But I’m not sure I will. I’ve managed to make it this far without any, here’s to hoping I can continue to live my life that way for as long as I can.