Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Sara and Melissa talk about...Regrets

We've been running a column series to get more personal with our readers. This month, we're talking about regrets. What do you regret? Please share your thoughts in the comments on this post. 

We're always open to topic suggestions, so please don't hesitate to share those in the comments. We'd also love to know if you can relate to anything we've said or hear your own thoughts on the topic. So don't be shy. :) We look forward to getting to know you as much as we're letting you get to know us. You can find our previous columns here, in case you missed them.

Melissa Amster:                                                                                   
Earlier this year, I got into a really great TV series called Being Erica. The main concept of the show is that this woman is sent back in time to resolve various regrets from her past. It inspired me to choose this particular topic for our column. However, I'm going to add a small spin to it!      

Oddly enough, I started The Midnight Library this week and it is also about regrets. Such interesting timing! The book has a Being Erica feel to it. 

Things I regret:

Not asking one of my closest friends to the prom because I was worried about what people would think, since he was a few years behind me in school. I shouldn't have cared at that point, since this friend was nicer to me than most people in my class had been for the past four years. 

* Dating my second serious boyfriend in college. There would have been less heartache all around if we had stayed friends instead of pursuing anything more. We probably could still have been friends at this point in time. However, things just ended on such an ugly note that I don't ever see that happening. There were other complications in our relationship that I don't feel like going into, lest this turn into an essay. 

* Not majoring in something like business or marketing because I could have started doing book publicity right out of college. I am dipping my feet into the water of this field and loving it so far. 

* Not going on a major vacation before having kids. It would have been fun to travel through Europe with my husband, but we just never did it. 

*The fight I got into with my best friend 17 years ago. We patched things up and are stronger than ever, but I wish it hadn't happened in the first place and I regret some things I said to her at the time. 

* Not standing up to a toxic friend in high school. I sometimes really wish I could have told her off in person, instead of just in a blog post that she'll never see. 

* This job I had in my late twenties. I got it because I wanted to leave the current job I was working at, as my boss was a total handful and we didn't get along that well. However, I took the first way out I could get and ended up tied to a cell phone 24/7 to answer emergency maintenance calls. I hated it so much and felt stuck there for the duration of my three-year contract. 

Things I do NOT regret:

Marriage and motherhood, obviously.

* The job I had for about ten years. It might not have been in my field of expertise, but I did learn and grow from it and made some great friends there too. 

* Keeping my kids home from school this past year. Most of the time, I had no choice, but even when the choice became available, I do not regret opting to continue keeping them home. I respect that everyone makes their own decisions when it comes to sending kids to school or not during the pandemic. I hope people can respect mine too. Thankfully, all three of my kids did really well in their classes this year. The ones who wanted to see friends still got to hang out with their friends six feet apart with masks on or through Zoom. 

* Starting this blog. ;) 

Sara Steven:                                                                                                                                   
Seven years ago, when Melissa and I participated in a monthly blog group that voiced opinions on various topics, one of our fellow bloggers had suggested we write about the worst mistakes we’d ever made. For me, it was how I’d pissed away my high school education. In fact, that was the exact phrase I’d used. “Pissed away.” I was never a model student. I didn’t excel at much of anything in those days, unless they give awards for truancy. In fact, I’m fairly certain the laws that ensure children attend school had a lot to do with how often I missed class.   

I had no intentions of returning to the academic world. At least, not when I wrote the blog post, June of 2014. In fact, when looking back at my educational blunders and reminiscing on the lost days that had gone by, I said: “College is my only option, but since I’m not entirely sure what I want to be when I grow up, shelling out the money for a college degree wouldn’t do me any favors right now.” There were a lot of other factors that went along with that mindset, though. Like, how I’d never really seen myself as capable of doing well in a scholarly setting. That I had crippling test anxiety, even into my adult years, which held me back from various endeavors in life. The thought of having to step back into a classroom made me anxious, but I couldn’t forget about the multitude of times I used to picture myself in college, that I’d recognized and identified how many of my friends had gone into successful careers after achieving their degrees. I’d let myself “go there,” only later letting the thought go, because it was so much easier to. School wasn’t for me, and it never had been. Game over, man. Game over. 

Only, that hasn’t been the case at all. I decided to conquer my preconceived notions just a couple of years after I’d written that post. I started out super small, with one class. That was the fall of 2016. When I finally decided to really go for it, I received my associates from Chandler-Gilbert Community College the spring of 2020, and I’m currently at Arizona State University, set to graduate with a Bachelor’s in English next year. 

Which is all well and good, it really is. I’m proud of that accomplishment. But I can’t help but wonder where I’d be right now, had I actually gone to college when it felt like everyone else did. You know, much earlier in life. 

I’m in my forties now. It takes me hours, literally hours to get everything done. I’ve also got a family, two sons who are currently at home attending school virtually, so I’m juggling my workload and making sure that my fourth grader stays on task, and assist him when he needs it, while I help my tenth grader out if he needs it, at times reminding him that he needs to keep at it, too. My husband has been incredibly supportive, but he works from home, too. So, I feel like there is a lot going on, with not as much time as I’d like to focus more on my courses. 

There’s the guilt factor, too. No one makes me feel guilty; I do that to myself. The constant, “Am I spending too much time on this?”  “Am I spending enough time with my family?”  “Am I putting too much onto other people?”

I figure if I’d attended college earlier in life, I’d have a lot more energy and time to devote to it. I don’t think I’d do as well, because with age, for me at least, has come patience. I might take a lot longer to get things done now, but the end result has been successful. Yet, what would I be doing, or where would I be, or what type of career would I have embarked on, had I cared more about my education back then? I often live with the motto, “All things happen for a reason,” and I do believe that life has brought me here, right this second, to where I need to be, the way I need to be. I am glad I have the opportunity to go to college. But I can’t help but wish that I’d cared more about my education and thought more about myself, to know that I would have been capable of doing it, particularly after learning over the years just how important knowledge can be.  

What is something you regret?

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