In 23 years of living I’ve learned a whole lot. I’ve forgotten most of it and I’ve failed to take advantage of even more of it. But one thing that I know for a fact is that regret is one of the toughest things in life.
But there are two kinds of regret and they are actually quite different. There’s the regret of something that you did. It can be scary. We all make mistakes and it’s hard not to think about how much better things would be if we avoided our most recent one.
But even more difficult is the regret for something that we didn’t do. You see, when you regret something you did it often affects someone else. You might hurt someone’s feelings, embarrass yourself, drunkenly assume a public place is your own personal urinal, whatever. But people forgive, people forget, people move on. You may regret something you did, but the time it takes for the people around you to move on is the time it takes for your regret to fade away. And just like that it either becomes water under the bridge or a story that makes everyone laugh, but only you can tell perfectly.
But when there is something that you can do, that you want to do, but you flat out choose not to do it, well, that regret stings just a little bit more. It involves you much more than it involves anyone else. It causes you to ask “But, why not?” and you don’t have an answer.
In other words, “I should have” is a tougher pill to swallow than “I shouldn’t have” (yes, I realize there are exceptions). So in a pretentious attempt at avoiding future regret, I’m listing off a few thing that either I have never done or just do not do enough. Hopefully, this list will shrink sooner than later.
1.) Give a Toast
There are some people out there who are just not afraid to say what’s on their mind regardless of who or how many people are listening. Props to you people. I may not agree with 80% of what you’re saying (or your desire to express it to me), but you should still get some credit. Most of us are not that type of person. Not that we never speak our mind or have stage fright or anything like that. It’s just that there’s often a window to say something to a group of people that would be perfectly relavant and a benefit to those listening. We pretend the window is much smaller than it actually is and we choose to let it pass under the guise that “we just missed it.”
Giving a toast can be corny. It draws attention to yourself and it has to be really heartfelt or really funny to be effective. If not, you just look like a dummy listening to crickets. At least that’s what we tell ourselves when we don’t stand up.
The truth is, a toast is usually meant to honor a person or event. It’s a step above giving someone credit, it’s sharing that credit with a group of people. If they deserve it than you’ll have the right words to express. I’ve never given a toast. I’ve probably only had a handful of fitting opportunities to give one. But if someone deserves recognition, there’s a hollow feeling knowing that they didn’t get it while I worried about how flat my joke would fall (I tell bad jokes to probably eight people a day, why not tell them to eight people at once?).
Apologizing sucks. I’ve done it before. Like at least twice. So I know.
But you definitely regret not doing it. If you don’t think you have to apologize you usually look like a dick. There are very few exceptions.
You’ve also probably been in the situation where you do something pretty bad to someone and you feel like sincerely apologizing is too awkward so you just treat them way nicer than you normally would for like seven months just to get back to a normal friendship. See, if you had just apologized (without the obvious expectation of an “I forgive you”) you could have gone back to making fun of them on a routine basis like normal. It’s way more efficient.
3.) Keeping the windows rolled down when you’re listening to rap music and you pull up next to a black person.
If you’re black this doesn’t apply to you (unless maybe you listen to country music and roll the windows up when you approach white people).
I’m not saying I never do this, but I’m thinking the percentages wouldn’t be in my favor. There are two reasons you might not do this. The first being that you are afraid you will be made fun of. Because rap music is a music created from, and still permeates through, black culture you are somehow embarrassed to be heard listening to it if you’re white. This is like enjoying a piece of cake that one bakery made, but spitting it out when the baker comes and pretending to enjoy another bakeries’ cookies instead. If it’s delicious you don’t have to hide it. Culture is meant to be shared.
The other reason would be because you think you are going to get shot or beat up, which is just racist. Unless you are listening to Waka Flocka, in which case you might deserve to be.
4.) Going to Sonic Happy Hour when you are actually near a Sonic from 2-4.
The other day I was driving by a Sonic at 3:15 and realized it was happy hour. I had about three seconds to make a decision and I just kept driving straight. I could have easily u-turned, but I deemed it “too late.” I am still furious with myself.
Half-off Slushes and Milk Shakes? C’mon…
5.) Calling Grandparents
My grandpa is the coolest to talk to. But I certainly don’t call him enough. His wife passed away about seven years ago so he lives by himself. He is quite content and keeps himself busy with family and friends, but I’m sure a phone call is much appreciated at times.
I know I have to fix this. We should all call our grandparents more, as corny as that sounds. To be fair, those of us that still have some to call are fortunate. There’s a regret that could eventually form that will be very hard to get rid of.
6.) Laying in a hammock
It’s honestly like the best thing ever. It makes you realize that you’re not actually that busy. There’s a hammock at my house, but in order to protect it from the conditions it’s kept in a shed, meaning that I have to get it out and set it up to take advantage of it, meaning that I never take advantage of it.
7.) Learning when to use “laying” and when to use “lying”
According to Yahoo Answers I used the wrong word in that last one. But I don’t trust Yahoo Answers. All the avatars of the people who provide answers look like really sassy characters from the show “Doug.”
I have an English degree and constantly correct people’s grammer for the sole purpose of annoying them. If I don’t look up the right version soon I’m really going to regret sounding like an idiot.
8.) Tipping Hotel Maids.
I’m not trying to sound too preachy or self-righteous, but these people clean all our shit up while we are typically on some sort of vacation. They aren’t paid hardly anything and we usually leave our towels, sheets, pillows, and clothes all over the floor because we believe what we pay for the room means we don’t have to bend over to pick something up. They also could steal a bunch of our stuff if they wanted to, but they don’t. I’ll bet the last ten times you stayed at a hotel your money, iPod or jewelry was untouched, but the second we can’t find them in our suitcase we quickly blame them.
I recently returned from California for an internship that had me in the same hotel room for about 22 days. Every single day two women cleaned my room, made my bed, picked up my clothes and washed my dishes while I was at work. In retrospect these are all things I am quite capable of doing myself, but I came to accept it all as necessary.
When I was boarding a bus to leave the hotel for good, I thought of the two maids and became overwhelmed with guilt. So I ran back to my room left two $5 bills on my bed with a piece of paper that said “Thank you.” I patted myself on the back and acted all high and mighty.
We then went to a different hotel for almost a week where I sloppily left clothes, plates, towels and beer bottles laying around to be picked up by the help. The thought of tipping those maids never crossed my mind until I was in a different area code. I definitely regret that. Not because it would have been so incredibly charitable or made their lives any better. But because they were doing something for someone else that I was too lazy to even do for myself. Any type of thank you is probably a fair demand.
That’s all I have at the moment. Now I have to write things for people who are actually asking me to write things rather than obnoxiously sharing my random thoughts with people who probably weren’t curious. Adios.