I’m not one of those people who say, “I wish I would’ve worked less and had more fun,” that's for sure. Can’t look back on high school and say that. Or college, all seven years of it. Or during my “career.” Nope.
But my second-biggest regret in life does have to do with the one time I was responsible. See what that’ll do to you? (My biggest regret in life is that I lost my senior yearbook, because I know the signatures in there are hilarious. I know my friend David filled out a whole page, and I remember peeing my leg at the time.)
I was in college (which is a great time for regrets), when I lived in a big beautiful house with several women — a house we did not appreciate or clean or remotely even notice, except for its ability to store lots of beer. It had a fireplace in the living room and the den, a formal dining room and a breakfast nook.
Anyway, we’re sitting around, enjoying our delicious cans of Stroh’s, when my roommate, who had a plastic nose (long story) said, “Hey! Let's all get in our 20-year-old rickety car and drive to Mardi Gras! If we leave now, we can totally get there on time!”
“I'll do it!” said my other roommate, who was up for anything, at any time, and that is why I heart her to this day.
“I have a quiz on Tuesday,” I said.
That’s what I said.
So everyone else piled into the car for an unforgettable (well, I mean, they have beads, so they know it happened) week at Mardi Gras.
Here’s the next thing I’d have done differently. I’d have found a way to maintain my marathon-training body. Back in 2000, I ran (“ran” being a strong term) 26.2 miles just to prove I could. I trained for six months. I crossed the finish line a mere 6 hours after I started, and I have never felt more proud, or more rewarded for my efforts. And then? I pretty much never ran another step. Would it have been so hard to go run 15 or 20 miles each weekend? Okay, perhaps.
And I would have kept this one job I had in Los Angeles. This place paid me a crapload of money, including paying me for my commute, because I lived on the opposite side of town. I set my own hours, and got to leave when there was no work, and there was very often cocktail hour at the end of the day.
The getting-to-leave-if-there-was-no-work-but-working-till-the-work-was-done thing rocked. One time, I left at 10:30 a.m. and shopped all day.
I quit that job in a huff over something relatively minor. I am an idiot. Anyway, it was a cool job, and the part where I got to work as much or as little as I wanted often resulted in me staying until 8 or 9 at night. Turns out when it’s up to me, I get kind of responsible. Who knew?
Finally, I’d halve all the time I spent mourning over the loss of my 39,495,830,305.5 relationships. I wasted way too many hours being sad that I broke up with people. Way too much time calling their houses and hanging up when they answered (because most of my breakups happened before caller ID). Way too much time listening to Sinead O’Connor. Way too much time lying in bed with tears falling in my ears. Eventually I got over everyone, so why couldn’t I have gotten over everyone — I don't know — sooner?
So there it is. My regret list. And I didn’t even mention the spiral perm incident of 1988.
Which maybe I should have.