Facing one's mortality is an exhausting experience. Every day you begin to think of things differently that you ever had before. What about this, what if I do that, what if, what if. Frankly, I'm worn out. The topic of regrets alone is enough to overwhelm a person with a functional life. Yes, I'm still functional. I think. I suppose that would require outside affirmation. But in terms of regrets, I've always felt like I have lived my life on my own terms. There are just a few things that I'd wish would have gone a little bit differently.
I wish the concept of family would have meant more to my own. I believe everything turns out the way it is supposed to; otherwise I would have been declared utterly insane years ago. However, at this point, even the small things seem superficial when it comes to family. I don't mean they don't matter; rather, they are no more significant to me than any other relationship. Maybe that is a good thing. I am 100% certain that my lack of a family has allowed me to appreciate my friends on a deeper level than most. I do endure a severe amount of compassion towards those whom I love. But I always hear people talk about family as if it is something "more than" and I often wonder what that is like. Maybe I already know. I just don't know that I know.
I am also 100% certain that it is why I never had children of my own. Family was never a priority. It wasn't required to know love; it wasn't required to feel happiness; it didn't seem to offer any additional benefits to life. So I refrained. I don't regret it. I am entirely positive I would not have lasted as a mother. Though I am motherly to a fault to those whom I chose to love, I do not believe that I have the concept of full time relationships built within my making.
I wish I would have learned the true meaning of respect for others at a younger age. Being a handful is an understatement when you are referring to my behavior as an adolescent. It wasn't until I was thrown into the bowels of society to fend for myself that I realized the importance of the utmost respect of others and begin to act accordingly. Regardless of whether or not you depend on others, you do depend on others. I am one of the more independent people I know, and I depend on a TON of people to make sure my life continues to run "smoothly." Ha, that was comical to even type. But you know what I mean. I need to make sure that I don't have a bad reputation. I need to know that people can view me as dependable. I have to ensure that I am hirable, trainable, and valuable in the workforce so that my life may continue on at the level of independence which it currently does. Respect is key. One must honor the nature of each human being which they encounter; one never truly knows what purpose that person is about to serve for you.
I wish I had opened up and loved more people earlier, the way that I do now. I am surrounded in my spirit by the love of so many that it seems worthless when I look back on the days when my heart was sealed off, my mind was closed, and I thought I was content with what I had. Even though having more people in your life means, directly, that you will have less time with each, it is a remarkable feeling have nonjudgmental, pure, non-discriminate love and desire for the people who are in it. Before, it seemed as though everyone who came into my life was scaled and graded based on what I might need them for. How ridiculous I feel now realizing that about myself. Had I known the amazement of loving people simply for who they are, and how they contribute to the world, rather than just my own pin-dot sized life, I would have jumped on that bandwagon with fury. Since my mind has been opened to clean, unadulterated love, I have met more people, smiled more often, laughed harder than imaginable, and felt encouragement about myself, than I have known for the culmination of my life. Me, the one who never thought she judged anyone. Truly, though, I didn't. I shut out everyone equally.
These days though, I quite literally SEE people in a different light than ever before. Everyone has a glorious purpose to love and be loved. Everyone has a beauty within them that shines, if only you are looking for light. What I had been doing is accepting people who complimented the person who I was, again, on my terms. It left out so many opportunities for memories and tenderness, love and chaos, charm and spiritual enrichment, that I am left wondering, does anyone feel this way? Does anyone know what it means to want nothing from anyone but for them to love one another? My heart aches for it. And its an utterly indescribable notion. The notion to not judge someone at all, for any reason. We are all we are; flawed, confused, hungry, tired, scared, alone, pessimistic, chaotic fucked up masses and yet we are all the same in that right. None of us get it right all the time. None of us get it right half the time. If we could see that, and come together with our renewed sense of humanity, the entire world would change in an instant. Yes, I am idealistic enough to believe that. I never said I thought it was plausible.
I wish I had stayed single through my 20's. Maybe now I wouldn't be too jaded to try again. Marriage ruined my concept of romantic love, the exact opposite of its purpose. Got to love irony. Now all I have left to idolize is natural love, the love of a friend, the love of a laugh, the love of a pet's affection, the love of memories. To think of entering into a romantic relationship with someone at this point in my life seems, self-defeating at best, torturous at worst. It isn't that being loved by someone doesn't cross my mind. It certainly does. I am human; the human condition rests upon the precept of being matched perfectly to another and acquiring affirmation of one's complete worth and total value from the perspective of another's mind, heart, soul. I logically know that this idea, is just wrong. To chase after it, to me, would be to live in a way that is counterintuitive to my ideologies. But maybe, just maybe, had I not gotten married too young, in a state of rebellion against my family's wishes, and struggled to make life work in a codependent relationship for the better half of a decade with someone who knew only how to love himself first, maybe I would be able to let someone love me today. Maybe I wouldn't have to face this world alone. Maybe someone would show me the compassion I wish to show others, and provide to me the idea that my life has remarkable value.
I wish I had been better to my body. This is hard to rest all blame entirely upon myself. Habits start with children and we weren't an exceptionally healthy family. Hot dogs and macaroni and cheese (I'm not knocking it, it's still one of my favorites, I just refuse to eat it), were a staple in our home. Pop was always accessible and continues to be a thorn in my side to date. I have underwent hypnosis, twice, in an attempt to get off the stuff. It is my greatest vice. Nothing works. Though I know my mind is great and powerful, I do not allow it to conquer this irreparable condition. I eat more cheese than any one person should, weekly. I eat more often that I should. I know that. I'm bored, what can I say. I absolutely love to cook and try new foods. Ree Drummond is the greatest she-devil who has come around in ages. But I do love healthy food. Again, if I had someone to cook for, maybe this wouldn't be an issue. However, as a single woman, it is wholly pointless to buy healthy (aka expensive) food, thinking that you will make it all before it goes bad. You won't. You will waste hundreds of dollars a month and eat out anyway. I don't care how many different ways someone tells me to cut the recipe in half, it's always too much food. I give in. I'm fat. Live with it. It hardly makes me a bad person.
Now this one, eh, I could go either way. I wish I had saved more money. Do I really though? I have always done what I have wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, and have had an excellent time in the process. If I had saved more money, I would have done less, but bigger things. Maybe I had been to Europe already. But I wouldn't have had the greatest shoe collection of any of my friends, or the tattoos I wanted which enable me to experience immediately gratifying catharsis on any number of topics, now imprinted on me like art. Who is to say which is the better bargain? I have always had more; smaller, but more. Being cheap has allowed me to go to Niagara Falls, Put-In-Bay, Virginia Beach, and five concerts all in one year. Or, I could have done none of that, and went to Italy. Who knows. I don't regret what I have, but I want what I don't yet have. My only solutions is having both, and that just doesn't work. I am selfish in that I require immediate gratification of a need almost at onset; saving isn't compatible with my needs.
I wish I had understood the basis for gossip during the times it affected my life. Being a child is difficult. We seek affection and affirmations from so many different sources. Gossip is an attempt by young (immature either by age or intellect) people to forge a connection with someone through sultry admittances or tales that negatively affect another person's sense of worth. Granted, the strong can survive a tale or two, and having a healthy perspective on one's own contributions and status in society will easily eliminate any impact the aforementioned gossip may have attempted to soil; but that is rarely the case during the times in which it is in play. Gossip hurts; find friends by being a decent human being instead. They'll last longer anyway.
I don't want it to seem as though I have a ton of regrets. There are things you just cannot control in life. You have no way of knowing that they will eventually affect you or make you feel a certain way. I wish I had said I love you more often and to more people. I wish I was stronger in the face of adversity. I wish I wasn't as quick to anger during certain situations in my life. I wish I had answered the phone. I wish I had walked away. I wish my list couldn't be nearly as long as it would if I would type it all out for you. But it is. And there is absolutely jack shit I can do about it now. Except, let it go.
Try not to dwell on regrets. Life is always set on a certain path, but with each choice you make, a new road is carved out for your consequences to venture upon. It will never be more than you can handle. It will always be worth it. Take the time to reflect on your life so that you may understand the why's of your choices. Regret as little as possible. Live by your standards and die with a smile on your face.