The Incomplete Index of Your Regrets

Brooke Richmond, Editor/Writer

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Photo illustration by MacKenzie Sarrett

There will come a time in your life — in all of our lives — where in your last moments you reflect on past times. Perhaps you will appreciate your time here; maybe you will think about that one person that changed your life in a magnificent way. You may think about your decisions and how your life could have gone had you made better ones. You may reminisce on your time as a whole, and ponder the overall values and achievements of your life. You may remember every moment that left you with even a shred of embarrassment from your adolescence. You can only know for sure what memories will be circulating your mind when your final hours have arrived.

Of course, it’s only rational to assume that you will think about that awkward encounter you had with your middle school science teacher in a Walmart parking lot years after graduating. Surely, you will find yourself cringing at that time you, out of habit, said “I love you” over the phone to one of your acquaintances. Naturally, we can assume that you’ll remember the time you thought your music was playing through you headphones, but really everyone on the bus heard you jamming to that one song you’re embarrassed of liking. You will think about the time you wore that slightly questionable outfit, and when you had that weird phase with your hair, and definitely when you were out in public and someone told you that you left the tag on your new shirt.

You’ll rest assured knowing that you will recall that time you were panicking between classes because you felt so overwhelmed with whatever it was that you were so worried about. You’ll think about that instance when you just wanted to become a hermit for the rest of your life to avoid the stresses of whatever temporary problem was inconveniencing you at the time. By all means, you can’t leave out that moment of intense anxiety while cramming a month of study material in the last five minutes before that dreadfully important social studies test –or was it a math test?

Something you surely won’t regret is all the times you told your friends you were sick to avoid going out and enjoying yourself. There’s absolutely no doubt that you will be thankful that you plugged in your earbuds in every social setting, instead of interacting with the people around, possibly learning something new, or making a friend. You surely won’t regret not following your passions because you were afraid of failure and embarrassment. Guaranteed that you will appreciate that you never took a single risk because you were scared of making a simple mistake. 

I’m certain that will think of these seemingly minute things on your deathbed because, if you were so worried about it then, why wouldn’t you still be worried about it 30 years later?