What is your greatest regret?
I had written a rather lengthy piece for today. 2000 words about a “friend” who spent four year using our sexual relationship as a weapon with which to abuse and manipulate me. But then I slept on it and returned to the idea that it is a story I need to tell a specific person before I share it with the world. Long story, short, I decided to put it away for a later date and try something else.
So I grabbed one of Marcel Proust’s 35 questions to ask your characters (which you can find here) to sort out into some kind of blog post.
“I do not regret the things I’ve done, but those I did not do.”
I don’t buy into the whole “no regrets” idea. I have recently started looking at life by asking the question, “If I don’t, will I be mad that I didn’t?” One day, I’ll probably learn to regret that I didn’t save as much money as I could have to get me through the tougher times. But right now, if something comes along and I want to do it, and I have the means to do it, I step back, look it over, and ask, “If I don’t, will I be mad that I didn’t?”
I’ve passed up a few pretty major opportunities in my life. The biggest, I think, was when I was nominated to be a leadership consultant (LC) for my sorority. I asked the LC who was visiting our chapter when I got the letter if it was simply something that was extended to all seniors getting ready to graduate and she said, no, I had to have been nominated by someone on the national board.
And I didn’t go.
I didn’t even apply.
I said it was because I didn’t want to live out of a suitcase for a year – and that was true, then – but the real reason was I was in a long distance relationship and I was ready to close the distance. I didn’t want to put another year between us as I traveled around the country.
And I regret that decision.
All the damned time.
I regret not turning in the application. I regret not taking that opportunity to travel around the country – on someone else’s nickel – and see places and cities and things I may never get the chance to see on my own (for lack of time). I regret not allowing myself the opportunity to meet all the amazing women who make up the organization so close to my heart and to see their different tribes. Within our sorority, each chapter carries its own, unique identity. My chapter was primarily non-traditional students, ranging from 18 to 50 in age, some with kids and husbands and some without kids, some living at home with their parents, some in the dorms. We didn’t have a house but many of us lived together. I regret not being able to stay in a house and see what that was like, compared to how I lived as a collegiate.
Of all the things I did not do, which I regret not doing, that is probably the biggest.