Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

What I Missed Along the Way

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Like many of my blog-mates, I have few regrets. I, too, realize that my life wouldn’t be what it is if I hadn’t made the choice that I did.  Mainly, the regrets I have are things that I choice not to do. Often coming from a place of fear, I wonder what would have happened, what would have been different if I had stepped up and chosen the other option.

Just before I turned 16, my family moved across the country. Now, being a minor, I didn’t have a whole lot of say in this decision. I always wondered though, what would have happened if I would have stayed? I had a boyfriend who I was head over heels in love with. Would we have stayed together? I had close friends that I’d been with for years. I honestly wonder what I would have ended up doing with my life, since the opportunities that were presented to me in Pennsylvania directly led to my chosen career. I don’t know if I count that as a regret, but it was a definite divergence in the road and I occasionally mourn the life I left behind.

My only major regret is my lack of love life. I’ve had a few opportunities that, or a variety of reasons, I did not explore. I’ve also never made it a priority in my life, choosing rather to focus on my career or education. Yet, when I see a happy couple walking hand-in-hand, I think, “that could have been me.”  Even worse, when I see my friends with their young ones, I really start thinking about what I am missing. I never thought that I wanted to be a mom, but there is an urge there that I can’t deny. If it never happens, then I’ll be fine, but I can’t say that I never wanted a child of my own.

Wow, this was a sad week.  Next week will be better, I promise!!

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“Regrets. I’ve got a few…”

“…but then again too few to mention.”

I had trouble figuring out how to write this post. Hence the tardiness in getting it posted. I have a handful of regrets from my life so far. Some small, along the lines of, “I should’ve asked her to get me a McGriddle!” That would be this morning’s regret when a coworker called to say she was stopping at McDonalds and asked if I wanted anything. Instinctively said “Nah I’m good.” Grr…I could’ve had a McGriddle.

There are some middle of the road regrets. Things I wish I’d done when I had the chance but didn’t for some reason and to this day I can’t figure out why I didn’t. I wish I would’ve joined the chorus in high school. I wish I had looked into and actually done some study abroad in college. The regrets of an older and wiser brain looking back on missed opportunities of youth I suppose.

And there are a couple…just a couple…big regrets. Opportunities that for one reason or another, mostly fear, I let slip through my fingers. These are the ones that will bog me down if I’m having a particularly down day. The type that make me wonder what my life would be like had I acted on my feelings or gone in that different direction. A couple close friends know my big regrets I prefer it that way (no offense to the public domain that reads this).

Like Amanda I don’t like to dwell on them. I will remind myself that had I not made the choices I did I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have some of the friends that I treasure. I may not have had some of the opportunities I have now. Has my life at 30 turned out like I thought it would when I was 10? Oh hell no. But that poor naive child had no idea what she was wishing for. Are there things about my life I wish were different? Of course there are but it could be a lot worse. For right now my life is good and I can continue to do things to improve it. I’ve already taken great steps this year. I was tired of living at home in PA. So I found a job in CT that forced me to move out. Through the year I’ll continue to make strides to get my life to where I want it.

Overall I try to be glass half full when it comes to any regrets I may have. The minor ones…honestly a McGriddle isn’t exactly the healthiest breakfast. All the way to the major ones…..who’s to say my life would be better? No matter what I at least try to learn from my regrets. We’re all human and will make mistakes that can lead to regrets. we’ve all been told over and over. It’s ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. In the case of mistakes that result in regrets. Learn from them and move on so you can get it right next time…

I just love a corny segue. I don’t regret that at all.  😀 I do regret that I couldn’t find a better video for this very apt song. 😦

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I coulda been a contender

I am not an ultimate fighter.  Not even close.  But, I could have been….maybe.

I was offered a chance to train with an ultimate fighter.  Yeah, the octagonal cage kind.  No holds barred, knock down, drag out kind.  When I look at my too-chubby thighs and lament my gut, I regret not taking him up on it.

When I was in college I took a few PE classes.  They were once or twice a week and they were fun.  I took weight lifting, tennis, aerobics and self-defense.  I always signed up for these classes with a buddy.  I didn’t initially want to take self-defense.  I thought it would be lame; a bunch of women standing in a circle shouting, “NO!” at a man covered head-to-toe in protective gear.  But I was eventually talked into it by my friend.

When we showed up on the first day, it very quickly became apparent that this wasn’t what I had been expecting.  This was hardcore.  We would be learning how to grapple, how to dislocate kneecaps, how to break ankles, how to break a chokehold and fight back if someone has a knife. I was really excited.  On top of that, we would spend part of each class doing conditioning, situps and pushups.  Our instructors would walk around the room while we were laying on our backs, feet 6 inches in the air, and they would stand on our stomachs.  See?  Hardcore.

I loved it.  I partnered with my friend, and since we were familiar with one another, we didn’t have qualms about trying the different wrestling and grappling moves on each other.  We really went for it.  One day, after class, our instructor asked us to stay back.  He said we were doing great, and did we want to do some extra training with him and his co-trainers.  By this time, I had lost about 10 pounds because of the class, I felt stronger, empowered and in control.  We said yes.

We did extra training for the rest of the semester. A few weeks after we started, a former Olympic Greco-Roman wrestler came to speak to our class.  He spent a few minutes talking, then offered to show us some moves.  My instructor tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I want you to go up against him.”  Now, I’m 110% certain that this man, had he wanted to, could have crushed me in about three seconds.  And to be fair, it didn’t take much more than that for me to be flying through the air, wondering precisely how strong someone had to be to swing me around like that. But I got back up and went for another go.  I would like to tell you that I managed more than four seconds that time, but no. After that, my trainer asked if we wanted to come to his studio to work out.  We said yes, but then time and other preoccupations got the better of us and we never followed up.

I’m not a person who generally looks back and has regrets.  I’m not always proud of the things I do, but I feel that if it’s worth it, I’ll make it better.  I’m lucky that I’m surrounded by people who believe in forgiveness and moving on.  I try to live my life well.  I don’t try to hurt people, I don’t lie, I try to be kind.  I take chances. But this is the one opportunity I wish I had taken, to do something maybe a little out of my comfort zone. Something different.  I could have been a fighter, a warrior, I could have spread the pain.  But I didn’t. I’m ok with my choice, but sometimes I wonder, how would that choice have changed me?

One thing’s for sure.  I would have had a kick-ass fighter name.

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No Day but Today

This week, we’re talking about regrets, which is somewhat difficult for me. You see, I don’t do regrets; I don’t believe in them. I think they’re the worst form of baggage a person can carry. Regrets hold you back; they can make you overly timid about trying new things and they force you to relive, over and over again, events which you would like to put to rest. Am I meaning to suggest I don’t make mistakes? Certainly not. Have I made poor decisions? Of course, and sometimes I do feel badly about what I have done or how I have behaved for a bit. But I don’t let these things linger with me for too long. I try to find a lesson to be learned from the experience and then put it to bed.

Take my Masters degree, for instance. I jumped right in and enrolled in a private school because the subject sounded interesting and the school was convenient. I didn’t really think about the level of debt I would incur to go to this school (thanks a lot, NYU!) or how long it would take me to pay it off, and what else I could be doing with that money, like buying a new, pretty house. I also just assumed that receiving a Masters degree would increase my pay and provide me with a wealth of job opportunities. Well, as I’ve discussed before, none of that came to pass. Sure, it was a dumb decision, but I can’t say I regret it all that much. At some point, I’m sure it will finally make financial sense, and I really did enjoy learning about global affairs and I feel I am a much better informed person now. This experience has also taught me to think through major decisions more thoroughly, and discuss big ideas I have with someone else (of course, getting married helped with that too).

Another example occurred when I was just a kid. My sister and I were attending a craft fair at school. It was set up to help kids make presents for their parents and grandparents and whatnot for Christmas. Anyway, the place was pretty mobbed and the volunteers were a bit overwhelmed (of course, in my young, self-centered mind this did not occur to me). My sister kept getting passed up time and time again for getting her project started. I got mad and made a rude comment to one of the parent volunteers. I felt I was justified at the time, but really, I was just a snot-nosed kid getting uppity with a parent who was volunteering her time to the school. I felt badly about it for quite some time, but the experience taught me to be more patient. It also forced me to bite my tongue and keep my gut reaction to myself and assess what actually is going on before I make a rude remark. I still have a temper and sometimes this lesson doesn’t always shine through, but I certainly think I’m better than how I used to be.

I’ve made my share of blunders in life, perhaps more than my share, but I’ve never seen the point of dwelling on them. To me, it’s just wasted energy that could be much better spent doing something else. Learn from the mistake and move on is my motto, or as one of my favorite musicals puts it so much better, “Forget regret, or life is yours to miss./No other road/No other way/No day but today.”

(clip from the very ending of RENT, the movie, which probably won’t make much sense if you’re not familiar with the show, but it’s a good song.)

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