I recently came across an online article on www.lemondrop.com, which caught my attention. The article interviewed Kevin Hansen, author of a new book titled “Secret Regrets: What If You Had a Second Chance?” (Kevin Hansen being of no relation to Chris Hansen, the debonair, austere host of Dateline: To Catch a Predator – a modern hero in our technology-laden times.)
The book is a compilation of entries from Hansen’s homonymous website, where anybody can log on and anonymously state their biggest regret. Most regrets are from women, torn over lost love affairs, lost chances, lost soulmates. Sure, there are regrets about broken family relationships or, sadly, domestic abuse, but it seems the affairs of the heart are the ones that linger. My favorite regret from the article is this particular one:
“I regret friending you on Facebook. Now I see your life without me every time you post a status update. Technology means never having to say goodbye forever. — Female, 20”
Not that I want to piss on this poor girl’s broken heart, but this is what could be defined as a quintessential regret for the 21st century. You know that long-lost love will never be the same when Facebook is involved in stalking your ex-lover. And yet, who hasn’t done the exact same thing? (I am guilty of doing this even with ex-friends. Ok, maybe I shouldn’t really admit that.)
The article got me thinking about what my regrets are. The idea of going back and doing everything the way you want sure seems idyllic, doesn’t it? Make the mistake, ponder it, learn from it, and then go back to the beginning and rectify it. If only.
I regret not partying more in college – I was so busy working and going to school full-time that I forgot that the college years were the only time in my life where I could have been truly carefree.
I regret not traveling more because I always worried about saving money for a rainy day. I sacrificed experiences that could have made my life much more meaningful.
I regret letting friendships fall on the wayside over stupid things. I regret not always being a good friend. I regret the times when I preferred to be alone, smoking weed and watching TV rather than being around people – an anti-social hermit.
Disclaimer – my one love regret: I regret not having broken up with a particular person sooner. I regret ever starting a relationship with them. I regret that I didn’t do anything about the fact that we were completely wrong for each other, even though it was glaringly obvious from the start. I regret staying with them because I thought I couldn’t do any better.
So that’s what I’ve regretted from my 20s. My 30s are going to be a time where I rectify it all. As Jonathan Larson once said: “Forget regret, or life is yours to miss.” It’s a powerful sentiment to propel us all forward.
In layman’s terms, I’m going to go Oprah on everyone’s ass and start living an “authentic life.” Now, if only I had Oprah’s billions of dollars…