May 28, 2012


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.


the nice one said...

NSG you are a beautiful lady. I take solace in knowing that I'm not the only one who lives with regrets. thanks for sharing and just so you know, I care.

GerunKnarlson said...

Regret is an important part of living this life, I guess - having us look back on mistakes we have made, and try to do better in the future. Of course, we're all human. Mistakes are just a part of our makeup. Dwelling on them is never a good idea. But remembering them, from time to time, does keep us humble, and helps us remember what we're here for.

On the bright side, it also helps us look forward to being better people in the future. :D

AAaaaand I'm done philosophizing. Sorry for the ramble. :) This was a very true-to-heart post. As someone who is leaving their teens behind, I find myself dwelling on a lot of regrets myself.

Annalisa said...

One of my regrets: (unknowingly) calling to hassle NSG about a visiting teaching report during that first rock bottom week. I still cringe about that sometimes. I think we even went visiting teaching together shortly after that b/c you didn't have a comp. "Unstable" was not the word I would have used to describe you--more like rock solid.

It's interesting that the major regrets you mention are really about relationships, rather than a list of accomplishments or things. I think that shows what matters to you is what is really worth it.

Hannah said...

Not to be all self-righteous, but that's one of the things that makes the Savior so fabulously indispensable. When Ben's brother was diagnosed with cancer and passed away quickly EVERYBODY was talking about how great he was. However, before that everyone had always said negative things about him (at least in my ear shot). I regretted not having the chance to know the real Josh that wasn't based on gossip (although unintentional on the nay-sayers part). I had a dream one night that I saw him and we gave each other a big hug. That gave me peace knowing that he understands now that my dislike for him was really a misunderstanding. I too am grateful for eternity which will give us all the chance to continue to nurture relationships and love others in a Christ-like way. You are one awesome girl who has been through SO MUCH! Don't be so hard on yourself, just learn from the past.

NoSurfGirl said...

Wow, that is really special, Hannah. And it gives me an extra bit of hope that threads can be untangled on the other side, if they can't here. And Annalisa, I mistakenly answered your comment on facebook. Suffice it to say, you are one of the people I felt lifted me and helped me feel welcome when people didn't know what to do with me. I should do another post at some point... people who have really helped me in my life (some of the names would be the same, though.) And Laura... I think that I've realized that thinking back on stuff and accepting we've done things imperfectly frees us to do things better next time, so I appreciate you are doing it NOW and not waiting until you're over thirty like me :) But then you've always been smart that way.

NoSurfGirl said...

And Denice,

Thank you :) You are one of the people I also wish I could be neighbors with and talk to sometimes while taking out trash.
But thankfully, not many regrets (except that loud argument we got into that one time. Do you remember that? I do occasionally, but mostly I remember you walking into the house and saying how sexual wind is.) (Hahahaha.... sorry. maybe that's too embarrassing to post online.)

Putz said...

i have many regreets also but i did get to know lynn mckinnely and brother cowan, and everlasting burnings his name, hyrum andrus while i was at byu and i could have passed and never taken the opportunity to know these three guys and seeing brother mckinney's gaint eating dinning table in downtown provo, some day i will wtite about that<><><>lds mission yes but i have missed adopting and being a great mother like you, so i so look up to you no surf, and so be grateful for that