"Never have regrets because at one point everything you did was exactly what you wanted."
I have been seeing this seemingly innocent blurb pop in and out of my field of view for quite some time. I finally digested it in my mind just to find it annoys the hell out of me. It is catchy and sounds correct enough, but when I think about the VERY FEW things in my life that I regret... it is most easily summed up by:
"When loving someone, never regret what you do, only regret what you don't do."
I somehow happened upon this gorgeous, fun girl when I was in college. She didn't actually go to school WITH me.... although throughout our friendship we would sneak her into my (very strict) dorm and/or I would stay off-campus in her apartment. We took road trips to crazy places and lived off virtually no sleep. We were both very generous with our time and resources and would spend all of our money getting out of town together, meeting people from everywhere and always being tourists. I remember making up hometowns on numerous occasions, since people had a tendency to think we were from California.
We remained friends until I got lost in a selfish cloud of potsmoke and my first love/ boyfriend (who would eventually need legal action taken against him to get him out of my life)... but I always thought she would be there. Until I never called or wrote. A year or so later I finally tried to reach her, and her e-mail address and phone number had both changed. I finally realized all I had was a bunch of amazing memories and no one to share them with. As quickly as we had become friends, I let her slip through life's cracks.... looking her up on Facebook and MySpace repeatedly with no luck. I got pregnant with Elek and I wanted her to know my hopes, fears, and irrational attachment to animals. I remembered becoming an ADULT with her (okay... that may be a slight exaggeration).... realizing that crashing on random people's couches wasn't always the best idea... knowing that all you needed was ten dollars, the mall, and some really great clearance racks to be the hottest girls in town for one night. I shed my "follower" skin and started figuring out who I really was thanks to this girl. Then, throughout my pregnancy, I started to wonder if she was even ALIVE... I heard all of these horrifying stories on the news and I would pray that one of my guardian angels would go spend the evening with her and make sure she felt warm and loved. I was terrified of all the possibilities and scared that she would never know that I cared about her happiness. I was so sorry for all those times I thought I should call but didn't have enough time to "really catch up".
Yesterday morning, our paths crossed again.... she has a little girl now.... and Elek is almost exactly one year older than her brand new daughter. I realized that not only had she missed MY pregnancy, but I had missed hers, too. Let me tell you, the emotional sobriety that came over me was hard to stomach. I just knew that she had always been there for me and that I just took that for granted in almost every way. I know our friendship may not ever be the same... but I still want so much for her to be surrounded with love and laughter. When I finally thought that I would never get the chance to say anything to her... somehow destiny allowed her to hear it from me: "I'm so sorry."
Please recognize people for who they are and how much they mean to you. We may not be lucky enough to have another chance.
How do you feel about regrets? Do you have someone you think about often who has "slipped through life's cracks"?
"Even the best fall down sometimes/
Even the wrong words seem to rhyme/
Out of the doubt that fills my mind/
I somehow find/
You and I collide."
"Collide" - Howie Day