I'm writing a story right now that elicits a lot of strange emotion in me. I find stuff that is usually buried much closer to the surface. Today, I don't know why, but I'm filled with a lot of sad nostalgia. Regrets. And a lot of wishing things were different...I'd done things differently, I'd known how to act in certain situations or been strong enough at the time to act in the way I knew I should, or I'd made different decisions.
places I have regrets about:
I miss home. I'm an eight-generation Californian, but none of my kids have been born in California, so I feel like I'm cutting off those roots. I love where I live now, but so many people here are deeply rooted here. I miss my river, my mediterranean climate, the wildflowers my mother has been bragging so much about on facebook lately.
I miss being a student. Specifically, I have deep regrets about changing my major from music to psych. It turned out right. It was what I was supposed to do, but the few times I've walked around on campus at BYU-Idaho, where I was a music major, the regret almost immobilizes me. I wish I hadn't let some guy tell me I can't sing. I wish I'd spent four years singing in the choirs, stuyding theory and pedagogy. I wish I'd switched to another teacher instead of letting that one negative message paralyze me and rob me of my talent.
I miss being a student. Specifically, I have deep regrets about not taking more literature and writing classes. Not getting to know such people at BYU as Margaret Young, Lance Larsen, Leslie Norris, Eugene England and others. I regret I didn't find my tribe until after I was no longer an official student.
I regret never serving a mission or doing something like ILP. Doing something big, something hugely out of my comfort zone, and seeing the world.
People I have regrets about:
Aya would be the first. Good memories=singing together in choir (first altos rock), getting to know your family, learning to love fish, learning how to properly make rice, learning what a beauitful person you are. I wish I'd been mature enough to know how to be less awkward and unintentionally insensitive at times, and that we were better friends now.
Jason would be the second. Good memories=singing together, dancing together, white water rafting together, being taught by indulgent older ladies how to flirt to make it believable on-stage. Falling in huge like with you. The funny stories you told. The way you'd light up the stake dances and come up with completely improbable group date scenarios. I wish I'd known how to let you know I liked you without making you think I hated you, and I wish I'd known how to take rejection without actually thinking I hated you. I wish I hadn't blamed you for things you weren't responsible for. I wish our families were close enough to go fly fishing and hiking and rafting together so I could hear more of your stories.
Bishop Handley would be the third. And sadly good memories are hard to come up with, because I met you at a time when my life was at rock-bottom, and I was at my absolute worst. But... good memories. Seeing Barbara Kingsolver's "prodigal summer" on your shelf and realizing we were kindred spirits. Your wife's delicious pumpkin cookies (also a regret, because I ate half of them... my only excuse is will power goes out the window when you're in a stake of shock.) Getting to know Eliza at 10, who is a whole lot like my daughter Emma is now, and hearing her formulate her running-for-student-body president speech (and coming up with as many words as possible from her name. Watching Sister Handley run a busy household with skill and grace. Regrets: that life was so stupid when I met you, because you could have been a mentor.
Tyler would be the fourth. Good memories=whenI first saw you, and was blown away with like. When you told me I could call you whatever the hell I wanted. When you told me you were washing mickey mouse glasses. When you told me you like to watch TV while in the tub. How you taught me something really important--that the fact I was a single parent didn't render me utterly unnatractive and undatable. Regrets=everything else. Being crazy. Treating you wrong. Not knowing how to do it any better at the time. I wish you were my next door neighbor and we could talk to each other over the fence every once in a while, or as we were pulling our garbage out to the curb. Or at least in the same ward or something. I wish we could invite your family over for FHE. I wish I could get to KNOW your family. I wish I knew you more than I do.
Dr. B would be the fifth. Good memories=there are a whole lot. How you helped me know I actually am a good singer. Teaching me how self-consciousness makes you look even sillier in almost every situation (possibly every situation... I haven't tried them all yet.) Going to that one songwriter's recital together, even though it was totally wierd. When you gave me a much needed blessing. Laughing in voiceworks class. Emma and Jennie under an umbrella. The two of you (you and Debbie) singing, "I'd give it all for you," at my wedding. Regrets=that I was so crazy and mixed up there for a while, and you had to witness it. But then, that is probably also why one trusts another person. They see the worst and forgive you for it :)
We all have regrets about stuff. My hope is that nothing is un-fixable. Maybe someday, if heaven exists the way we conceptualize it (and I have faith it does) I'll have all of the great things I have now--friends, family, places, opportunities, but also an opportunity to go back and fix these kinds of things, kind of like dropped stitches in knitting. To me, that's heaven; being able to do everything you ever wanted, and be with every person who has ever touched your life or made an impression on you, made you want to be a better person. Or maybe there's a way to fix it in this life, too. Hopefully I have 60+ more years to play with. And hopefully I dont accumulate any more big ones in the meantime.