do over

Maybe it’s the whole middle-aged thing (I’ll be 45 in August – probably half as old as I’ll live to be, given my genes) and some wishing for things, but I’ve been thinking about regrets a lot lately.

I’ve never trusted anyone who says they have “no regrets”. Really?! How can that be? How can anyone be so satisfied with every single decision they’ve ever made? It seems impossible. Clearly they are in denial is all I can think, and must have some doozy regrets.

I know I do. Big and small.

For one thing, I wish I had traveled when I had the chance, when we had money and pre-kids. I don’t even have a passport, for crying out loud. Were we so busy eating out and doing NOTHING that we didn’t think to GO somewhere? I should have followed Jay’s lead, who started traveling extensively starting on his 30th birthday. At this point, I think the only places he hasn’t been are the two Poles. It’s not like it’s too late to rectify the situation, but there are a few more obstacles now – namely kids and money. I will at least start with the passport.

Another whopper: college. Yes, I went, but I didn’t stick to the major I planned, which was education. I became a PR major. I have never worked in PR. I’ve had the same office job for 21 years now, largely because it’s easy and my schedule has moved with my kids. Now when I think of what changes I might make, it’s just too overwhelming to consider going back to school to become a teacher. I’ve looked into it but found nothing but full-time programs that take two years and cost beaucoup bucks. I think that ship has sailed.

I also wish we had bought a house in the early 90’s (see travel section for reasons why we didn’t.) I can remember looking in the paper and seeing Wallingford bungalows for $150K. It just wasn’t on our radar. Instead we bought in 2007, at the height of the market, and got a tiny house barely in the city limits. But at least it’s ours.

I miss some people from high school and college that I wish I had stayed in contact with.Yes, I suppose I might be able to find them on Facebook, but that seems kinda stalker-y at this point. What if they scratch their heads trying to figure out who I am? God knows I’d probably do that.

One thing I can’t decide if I regret or not: becoming a bar owner. At the time, it seemed like a good idea, and it’s given us lots of flexibility on the home front. But did we put enough thought into other options? I’d say no. And the stress of it is beginning to outweigh the advantages. I’m getting too old for this, I think.On the other hand, we’ve met some truly wonderful people through the Roanoke that I can’t imagine not knowing. This one is a tossup – it depends on the day you ask me.

Mixed in with that is regretting that I made most of the big decisions for the Geek, things that he should have decided for himself. I pushed him down the path we’re on, but what if it wasn’t the right one? What if he would have chosen differently. Yes, it’s easy to let someone else make the choices but that doesn’t mean they are always right. It weighs on me.

Not all of my regrets are heavy. I would take back that wedding dress choice in a heartbeat. Though to be fair, it was 1991 and choices were limited. Still! Those shoulders! I would have bought my last pair of jeans in a smaller size – I’m all for comfort, but these babies stretch! I would take some time to learn and plan my yard, instead of buying any little pretty thing.

To be clear, I don’t regret EVERY thing I’ve done. I still love my tattoos.I can’t believe we waited so long to get Jack.  Even though my kids and husband can drive me batty multiple times a day, none of the rest means a thing without them. The Geek is my best friend and partner. I am so proud of those damn kids even when they work my last nerve (a 15 minute shower?! Really?!)

I know it serves no purpose to look back and dwell on what might have been. But isn’t it useful to consider it going forward?

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3 thoughts on “do over

  1. The way I see it is this. I don’t know what I don’t know. I may not be happy about a decision I made in the past (ex. which college I chose) but, at the time, it was exactly what I wanted. Did I make the right choice back then? No. But do I regret that decision? Nope. I have wonderful friends and memories and a 4-yr degree from that college? Could I have gotten all that from another college? Sure. But they would be different friends, different memories and maybe even a different degree. Had I not married my now ex-husband, I probably would not have traveled all over SE Asia and I most likely wouldn’t be living in Seattle now. If you had chosen to travel when you were young and free, maybe you wouldn’t own your cool bar or have your awesome kids. Stalk those people you want to reconnect with. If they don’t remember you, you can at least let them know they had a small but perhaps significant part in your life at one time, and then be on your way. A friend of mine just got his teaching degree after being a engineering consultant for most of his adult life. He turned 49 two weeks ago. Get the passport. You just never know where life might take you…

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