“What if?” is a question I never want to ask myself. I never want to look back on my life and wonder how different things would be if I had done what I wanted to do instead of taking the safe path. I didn’t want to ask myself “What if I had gone to NYC for college?” so I went to NYC. I didn’t want to ask myself “What if I had gone to Russia that summer?” so I went to Russia. And I don’t want to ask myself “What if I had moved back to IL to watch my siblings grow up?” so that is exactly what I’m going to do when I graduate.
Regrets are overrated, and I don’t understand the people who willingly set themselves up for them. If you know you really want to, really need to, do something, why wouldn’t you do it? I just don’t get it. The examples I listed before might make it seem like the only big decisions I’ve made are more or less win-win situations where I gain experience and insight and lose little, but that’s not how it is. I’ve also had to make hard decisions, and was hurt because of them. I had the option to keep my atheism secret from my very religious grandparents, but I didn’t want to spend my life hiding who I was when I saw them every week, so I told them. The result? Shunned for several weeks, followed by several more weeks of conversion attempts, followed finally by quiet–but not happy–acceptance. Do I regret telling them? No, but I know I would have regretted not doing it. The same happened when it came up with my “friends.” Several of them stopped talking to me when I refused to convert, but it helped show me who my real friends were, and those are the friends I’m still keeping in almost daily contact with, even though we live 1000+ miles apart.
I know that not everyone shares my same mentality–many people prefer the safe, well-traveled path–but to me it seems like common sense. We only have one life, why waste a single moment of it on regrets? Even for those religious people who think we have more than one life–one life or one hundred, why would you want to waste any of them? I suppose, when it all boils down to it, my life philosophy can be summed up in this one quote: “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to slide in sideways, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, screaming “HOLY SH*T what a ride!”