Regret, such a tragic concept. I have never been much for regret. I never thought I would ever truly experience the cruel sting of such a curse. I spent many years thinking those who regret were just cowards fearing consequence. Until I have realised that regret plays a role in every twenty-somethings life in the world of today.
Mark Twain once said “Never regret anything that makes you smile.” The part Twain failed to mention is that many smiles can be nothing more than a prelude to tears. Just think about the Greek Comedy and Tragedy faces. They are always displayed side by side. Just like in relationships–and like the Greek theatre masks–it is not without tragedy that comedy can exist. I know this as I have studied this. I have studied acting since I was 14, writing my entire life and more specifically comedy for the past four years or so.
I am a female comedian in Toronto. Daily, without realising it, I am salted with the flavour of regret and “what ifs.” I am a barista, a sales associate, and last but not least a writer. Instead of spending time on a movie set somewhere, I am here in a land of espresso beans and vanilla syrup. I watch the clock ticking ahead and what seems further away from my dreams.
Remember that some of the world’s greatest people have had B jobs and struggled with life’s hurdles.
Do you remember what you wanted to be as a kid? Probably wasn’t to sell coffee or moderately priced cardigans. Chances are, if you are reading this article you are either:
A. A creative type on the up and up on what is going to be the tops of the literary and entertainment world and are reading this on break from your B job (barista, bus boy, bartender, bouncer)
B. Unemployed and stumbled upon this while procrastinating on the hunt for a B job.
C. You are looking for answers and, like myself, you’re open to uncharted ideas.
No matter what category you fall into, my question is this. Why are you thinking about regret? What is plaguing you, dear reader? You see in the past year I have realised that I have fallen into the categories of A, B and C. If you fall into any of these categories I think it’s time we all step back and take a look at the larger picture. Remember that some of the world’s greatest people have had B jobs and struggled with life’s hurdles.
Now when I put on my apron and name tag I have two options. I can say, “I never should have studied the arts and got a boring accounting job.” Or I can put on that apron and say, “I wear this apron so I can continue and artful life.” In my B jobs I have freedom to follow my dreams and stay true to my ideals. I get to be creative every day in my B jobs. Whether it’s latte art or helping a customer put together an outfit. I am creatively contributing to someone’s life. I am in a subtle way making someone’s day better. Not to mention I am closer to financial comfort. Once I reach that, I can be more open to life’s adventures, take more risks and follow my heart. We all know it’s easier to follow your heart places when you can pay for a train ticket.
So really, what is regret? The wish to do it all over? Why? Look at who you are, what you’ve done and where you’ve come from. You made those choices for a reason. Sure things may have been different, but maybe not for the better. Besides if you think you’re regretting, that is just because things are hard right now. Remember the world takes 24 hours to fully spin; life is literally always moving. So think about the next 24 hours and how you want it to move you forward. Ready? Set? Go.
Andrea Holz is a Toronto-based award winning writer, actress, comedian and coffee master.
Photo by Sheena Lyonnais. Taken at Voodoo Child in Toronto.