If you've read some of my previous articles, you might surmise that I'm most interested in feelings during childhood. Fear, imagination, memory. I wonder why certain things affect us as children, and why others do not. This time I would like to explore regret. Now that we are adults, we are supposed to take a logical way for making a decision. Weigh the pros and cons, attempt to evaluate the outcome and what is best for you, take into consideration other peoples input, and so on. But when we are kids, how do we make decisions? I myself made them blindly with whatever emotion I was feeling at the time. Often regretting the decision milliseconds after making it while I was angry or enveloped in some other emotion. I would like to walk you through three regrets I have from my childhood. These are not my top three I think, but each one has been burned into my memory and taught me a lesson on decision making, or some other aspect of life.
Who here has never been stolen from? It's a horrible feeling. The fact that someone took something of yours without permission can infuriate a person. And what's worse, often the person that is the victim gets blamed. Why didn't you protect yourself better? Don't you know better? This first regret I want to talk about is a theft that I could have prevented.
I was 13 or 14, somewhere around there and my friend and I were going to the State Fair. Too young to drive, and too cool to walk, we took our bikes. I had an awesome freestyle bike. Front and back pegs, could turn the handle bars around 360, it was pimp. Knowing we would have to lock up our bikes, I grabbed my little wire chain and wrapped it around my seat pole. The thing is, right next to that, I had a thick chain that would have been a much better protector. My friend even said, "Don't you want to take the heavy one?" My reply was something retarded like, "It'll be too heavy." That was mistake number one. My friend was even looking out for me, and my ignorance was too strong for him to help. No big deal right, as long as I'm careful, nothing bad should happen. My friend found a light pole and used his heavy chain to lock up his bike. I being 13 and way too cool to share a spot with my friend, instead found a tree to lock my bike to. Mistake number two.
Now, my poorly chained bike was in a shaded area away from traffic. None of these things registered at the time. My decision was solely based on looking cool and taking the fastest action to get inside the park and have fun. Needless to say when I came back it was gone. I couldn't believe it. How can someone take it?! After all those precautions I went through. I learned that taking a little extra effort to protect what is yours is necessary. I learned making sure that my things are secured even if that means delaying fun for a bit is worth it. I learned not to be a retard, although I often forget that part of the lesson.
My second and more painful regret came years earlier. My father was going to throw away his old collection of comic books and asked my sister and me if we would like any before he did. Again, my split second decision making method told me NO, I have to go play now. Throw those things away Dad. And he did. It wasn't even a week later when I already regretted this decision. To begin with, that was my first encounter with comic books, and I blew it off. Second, my sister was smart enough to take some and I was jealous that she now had some cool comic books.
It was years later when I came to this realization, but I also believe that my father was trying to share his childhood with us. It was something that he liked as a child, and wanted to share with us. I regret not taking the time to examine these comic books for their own entertainment, and also for the chance to peer into my father's world. Perhaps that's a bit deep and I doubt my Dad would take it that way, but it's something I have not been able to shake from my past. This regret has taught me to listen to people. To take interest in their interests, because..... it might be interesting. I love listening to my grandparents now, and trying to picture what their childhood was like. It's amazing how much we take our loved ones for granted. I still do mind you but at times when someone makes what seems like an innocent comment, I slightly encourage them to explain it more. And often times a revealing and touching story will come from that person. From this regret, I learned to be a little less of a douche.
My last and most painful regret comes from 4th grade. My best friend was moving, and I didn't want to accept that. Instead of having great times with him while we could, I moped and felt sorry for myself that he was leaving. I didn't consider his feelings, or how hard the move was for him. My ten year old brain could only fathom my own outcomes. And here comes the regret. After he gave me his new address, and he did have to give it to me, I never asked for it. This itself hurt him but it's not the regret. After he gave it to me, I threw it away.
I realize you are sneering and most likely have to clean spit off your computer screen now, but hear me out. I made my decision out of spite. I couldn't believe that my friend was leaving and couldn't accept it. In a flash second I decided to throw it away, and I have regretted it ever since. I wish we were still in contact with each other. I wish I could see what is happening in his life and if he's happy or not. I wish I could show him how much better of a friend I am now from when I was then. Jason, if by some chance you are reading this, I'm sorry.
I appreciate you reading this. It was a lot like self help therapy for me. Sure I still have regrets, but I try to stand by my decisions now that I'm getting older. Again, I would love for this to be an open discussion and to find out about your regrets from childhood. Again, I appreciate your reading and comments.