I hate a lot of things: People who cut in lines; radio DJs who try to add their own ‘uh hu! uh hu!’s on top of a song you otherwise like; when iTunes only has a movie for purchase instead of rent(I will never watch Sex Tape twice, Apple). But one of the things I hate the most is when people are all like “I have NO REGRETS”. I get the sentiment. It’s that whole, “If I hadn’t made every single mistake/choice that led me to where I am now I wouldn’t be SO HAPPY with how my life is going at this exact second.” Or maybe you’re just like, on your deathbed, and it sounds a lot nicer that say “I have no regrets” to the people around you who are going to have to continue living afterwards and need some hope. Was that dark? Sorry, I’m sickly right now and I get all dark and broody when I’m sick. NO REGRETS.
The thing about people saying “I have no regrets” is that they usually can only say it when they’re in a really good place in life. I’m totally guilty of this. I probably tried to be more stupidly poetic with it and say something like, “all of the mistakes I made have woven together the beautiful tapestry of what my life is today” or whatever. What a douche I was being. I apologize. But I really do believe when someone says, “I have no regrets,” that it comes from some place of self-righteousness, or at least delusion. There’s something about how you feel when literally every single piece of your life feels so perfect that you think you’ve REALLY figured it out. You’re the special one who, despite being 28 and only having like $10 in your savings account, GETS happiness. And you talk to people and give advice like you’ve cracked the code. That kind of attitude can be really detrimental to others, I think. I’ve given advice that is really detrimental to others, I think.
I think the other reason people are so compelled to say that they have no regrets is that regret fades. Like heartbreak or the fucking illness I’m dealing with right now (die illness, die) they leave you so quietly that one day you wake up and you can basically not remember what it’s like to live with them. In some senses you almost romanticize them. My mom and I have often talked about how some of our most vivid, happy memories have come from times when we were otherwise utterly depressed. That song you listened to when you were living in the bottom of a regret-pit becomes a badge of honor. It’s a way to conjure up the memory that you were once so low and can now be thankful that you aren’t.
But back to hating things. I’ve been living with some regret lately. In the grand scheme of things, it’s insignificant. It will fade faster than a spray tan(I’m hoping that’s short because I’ve never gotten a spray tan but real tans don’t last nearly long enough, so?). And definitely faster than the years of regret I experienced when I hadn’t figured out my career shit and I hated myself for going to music school. But because all these A-holes are out there saying, “YOLO. NO REGRETS” (“YOLO” precedes all dumb statements except for when Drake uses it), I’ve been laying listlessly on the pile of reasons to hate myself that exist in my head and thinking, “God, you’re the one fucking person with regrets. I bet Rihanna has a No Regrets tattoo because she’s that much better than you.”
Can we just band together and admit it? We’ve got regrets. Sometimes we feel them and we feel like they’re massively fucking our lives and sometimes we just look back and say, “Oh, hey. That sucked a lot and I would have been less sad had I not done that thing.”
I’ll start. Here’s a totally non-comprehensive list of regrets I have had in the past. If I ever say, “I have no regrets” print this shit and mail it to me:
- So there was this boy on the school bus who I didn’t think I liked, but I guess I liked, and he totally liked this very pretty girl who was SO cool and knew how to perfectly wear her hair in one of those mushroom buns and her name was Jacqueline which was so classy bitch for Snellville, Ga. And so I guess I was harboring some anger about the fact that he loved her but would make fun of me so I kept making this joke that I was going to hit him in the head with my rock keychain (flirting? I only had brothers to learn from) and I think he was like, “bring it on!” but maybe he was just busy flirting with Jacqueline so one time when I was leaving I actually smacked him in the head with the rock keychain and he looked SO INJURED and I got worried I was going to get a citation and I repressed the rest of 6th grade bus rides homes. I think I apologized the next day.
- The first time I ever got dumped I learned how to play guitar to I could sing an INCREDIBLY detailed song about our relationship at my high school talent show. I think I embarrassed the shit out of my mother and I really upset him.
- When my family lived in Brazil and I had no friends, I’d watch “Two of a Kind” (that Olsens twins show) and wish I had a twin because I had no friends. And I liked their hairstyles. The first time I was invited out with a group to the movies I did my hair in these weird Princess Leia buns that ala the Olsen twins’ hairstyles but I was not good at doing hair so I overcompensated with more butterfly clips.
- Every time I’ve tried to change myself so I could stay in a relationship.
- Highlights. And then swimming in a very chlorinated pool and not washing my hair after. But also, just the highlights.
- The first time I was ever pulled into a meeting with senior management at a company I worked for and asked my opinion seriously, I made a joke about how my college taught me nothing but how to do drugs (;;cringes a million times over for that one::).
- Every piece of drunk pizza I’ve ever eaten.
- Most of the times I’ve sung Karaoke because I notoriously pick bad songs. (note – don’t sing Natalie Merchant’s “Carnival” at your college welcome week)
- Straight across bangs.
- The entire period of post-college where I thought duck face or opening my mouth as wide as possible was better than smiling and letting my naturally smaller eye show (to her credit, BFF kept yelling “JUST SMILE NORMAL” during all these photos).
- That time I was drunk and I tried to show my friend how well I could Walk it Out. I cannot walk it out.
- All the other times I was drunk and did stuff.
- But also all the stuff I did sober.
Peace, love and I REGRET EVERYTHING,