“My one regret in life is that I am not someone else.”
~ Woody Allen
Regret is a word I hate. It’s too formal. It leads to too many bad things. “We regret to inform you…”
That word always leaves me pissed off. Yet, I experience this emotion every single day.
I regret virtually every decision I ever make: from my daily appearance, to choosing my activities, or reactions to events. No single detail escapes my doubts. I wish I was joking, but truthfully, there is always a little uncertainty in all of my choices. Every path I use, I always think it’s the wrong one; doesn’t matter how far down it I’ve gone.
I always think of the path I didn’t take, the boys I didn’t date, the food I didn’t make. Regret is my Jiminy Cricket, the voice telling me I’m wrong. Sometimes it’s instantaneous, like leaving the convenience store full of crap food when I just went in for milk. Other times it just pops out of nowhere, like maybe if I hadn’t been so fucking clingy with that guy from a few years ago… or maybe I shouldn’t have bought that expensive purse I wanted so badly.
I can’t tell you when this started; it just seems to always be a part of my life. It’s not that I’m too critical of myself or that I am unhappy with myself, it’s just something I can’t help thinking. Like right now, at this very moment, I’m having strong regrets writing this article. I’m telling myself “Man, people are going to think you are out of your damn mind. Just SHUT UP! You’re coming off as a self-absorbed whiney brat!”
There is a silver lining, a light between the dark clouds. How I cope is recognizing that I’m going to have this feeling and ignoring it. I mean completely IGNORING it. By forcing myself move on from the decision, and continue on, it’s really shown me that I am doing alright. It’s opened me up to so many new experiences and takes away some of my fears; because I’m going to regret the decision anyway, so I just go for it!
Sure, I may look back at pictures of myself and wonder what the hell I was thinking wearing that or wishing I hadn’t drank that new alcoholic concoction that sounded great at the time, or maybe I shouldn’t have wasted my weekend watching Netflix. Then I remember all the decisions I wasn’t sure about that have paid off a million times.
One time it was the four days I spent plotting out how to frame and hang some of my favorite pictures. Every measurement was done five times, I cleaned the frames twice and put several holes in the wall, but now I have an awesome picture wall that inspires me every time I see it.
Still, the biggest decision that has never disappointed me is my purple hair. I’d always wanted purple streaks in my hair, and even once tried to achieve this feat with a boxed kit (which was a decision I really regretted, along with my pseudo bowl cut). I grew up, worked in offices and forgot about it, and then I saw my hairstylist with awesome purple hair. I debated back and forth for a few months, would this affect my job or dating life? Even knowing that it can be fixed or its semi-temporary didn’t help. I was really worried I was screwing up my life; putting a label on myself I wasn’t sure I was ready to live up to.
Then finally, I just sucked it up, shut up that nagging voice and I just went for it on my 25th birthday. I haven’t looked back since. I get so many compliments; my boss thinks it’s cool and just recently was called “Purple Hair” all night. This decision has become an integral part of my identity and even with those doubts, I know that I made the right choice.
Erin Fahy is a corporate drone by day and a Blonde Mag contributor by night. You can follow her on Twitter @rockurworld16.