Whenever I complain about how I look, my mum tells me I should appreciate how beautiful I am right now, because if I were looking back on myself, as I am today, in 20 years time, I’d be thinking “why didn’t I ever appreciate how hot I was?!!”
And she’s right, you know. Brian, my friend of 24 years (from my uni days) recently came to see me, all the way from San Fran, and he brought a whole load of pictures of us all in our uni days. The year we met was the year I turned 19, and that was the year 4 of us girls lucked out by living next to 4 American guys, who had the added bonus of central heating in their house, unlike us. So of course we became firm friends with them.
Anyway I was looking at my 19-year-old self and thinking, “wow, I was so thin and so beautiful!”. But I remember at that age feeling so insecure and that I wasn’t attractive. I just never saw it in myself. So I’ve been looking at a lot of old photos, from various points in my life, and thinking, why did I not wear mini skirts more often??! Why did I always think I was fat when I was in fact a size 8? I must have been totally insane.
And that got me thinking about other things, regrets and things I wished I’d done (besides the mini skirts). I don’t generally believe in dwelling on regrets, as it’s a pointless and unforgiving task. I try and focus on just not making the same terrible decisions or bad, bad mistakes. But I do have regrets. Like I never went to see Charlotte when she lived in Bermuda. I didn’t go to Julio’s wedding in Peru. And I never managed to go see Claudia when she lived in so many amazing places – Tokyo, Jordan, Mexico City.
And my excuses were always work or money or time related – not having enough annual leave left, not having the money for the ticket. But surely I could have asked for unpaid leave and begged my parents for money for a ticket that I could easily have paid back (eventually!!).
Why didn’t I choose to have amazing experiences and see my friends who I love? Why did I prioritise the wrong things? And these are just a few examples….I could dredge up more, but then I may end up on the floor moaning in a foetal position!
So shouldn’t we all remember what’s important and make that happen. Why can’t we create memories not regrets? And live for today! As I’m writing this I’m aware that I’m bordering on sounding like those horrendously irritating chain emails that tell you things like “dance like no-one’s watching!”, “wear purple if you want to (not sure why anyone would want to personally…)” or “wear your special underwear every day, instead of that turned grey white underwear from M&S that really should have been in the bin years ago”.
But there’s some truth in there. It’s about living now. And that’s what I’m doing, even if I’ve started a bit late. So f**k you regrets!