In the past couple of years I’ve been into some self-help-y, self-discovery-ish stuff called “Transformation.” If you know me, you wouldn’t think it was very me. I’m not a rainbows-and-butterflies-and-group-hugs type.
But I’m attracted to the practical side of it: all about living in the moment, how what you resist pers– never mind, I’m getting bored describing it. It’s great, useful material, but ick. It doesn’t sound right coming out of my mouth. Or my keyboard.
Well, I’ll just mention one of the key tenets: that your life could only have happened the way it happened, because it did. So if you totaled your brand new ibook by spilling coffee on it, or spent your life’s savings on Powerball tickets, or chose the slowest line at Food Emporium, then it couldn’t have happened any other way. Actually, it could have, but now it can’t have. You can’t go back and change it.
I know, duh. But that means there are no mistakes, which is very helpful.
When I start thinking “if only I hadn’t bought that expensive, non-refundable sweater,” I remind myself, “you couldn’t can’t have NOT bought that sweater. And it isn’t a mistake, it’s part of what got you to this point in your life. Plus, it’s quality cashmere, and the hood is awesome.”
See how that works? If there are no mistakes, there are no regrets.
But if I were going to have regrets about my life, here’s what they would be:
- Making a girl hump a tree in summer camp.
- Plucking the grey hairs everyone said not to pluck – now I see why. Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!
- Half the clothes in my closet, especially the ill-fitting jacket from J Crew that I kept the tags on to return and then waited till it was too late.
- Having no interest in the lucrative field of finance.
- Eating stale blueberry muffin bits from the sample plate at Valentino’s Deli. Not worth it, and probably covered in crackhead germs.
- Jumping on my sister’s stomach when she was 14 months old.
- Throwing out all those shoe boots from 1992. They’re back. And would look so good with my stirrup pants.
- Attending a school that didn’t teach geography.
- Betting my husband 100 dollars that Egypt is not in Africa.
- Never wearing corrective insoles as a kid so I could have arches. (My parents’ fault.)
- Renting storage space for three years, just for some books and a Stickley end table that I thought I’d sell at auction but ended up putting out on the street.
- Watching all of “True Blood” season 2 in a single day instead of pacing it out.
- Accumulating all those American Airlines miles instead of Continental. American sucks, and Continental still serves food.
- Not buying a big, prewar 2-bedroom when they were cheap as rock salt.
- Naf Naf.
- Carrying on for two and a half years with a married, mustachioed, grossly overweight, pina-colada-guzzling, sociopathic, Viet Nam vet salsa instructor, mostly because I didn’t want to give up the free dance lessons.
- Lending a bunch of money to said salsa instructor to make instructional dance videos. (“They’ll pay for themselves in one weekend.”)
- Paying to see “Chasing Amy”.
- A shorts-and-tights outfit I once wore out to a club. I looked like Liza Minelli.
- Turning down a free trip to Cuba because I had weekend plans with a guy I liked. He was so boring.
- Wearing a green felt hat and sandals with socks all through 6th grade.
- Sunbathing in shallow water with baby oil on my face at Club Med when I was 15. On the plane home, my skin was bubbling like a pan of bacon.
- Standing by and doing nothing when NBC canceled “Hello Larry.”
- That I am not neat.
Luckily, I have no regrets. These things happened just the way they were supposed to. And I’m sure that girl who humped the tree agrees.