You’ll Regret It Someday

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clipartpanda

I stifled a wail when I read Mike Spoor’s BuzzFeed list of “Thirty-seven Things You’ll Regret When You’re Old,” because I’m a shining example of his regrettables. Mr. Spoor provided the bolded descriptions of youthful follies; the confessions are mine.

Not learning another language: I sensed in 4th grade that I wouldn’t be a linguist when I failed to master Pig Latin. Then in high school and college, I took every literature class offered, which left no time to study another language. To me, analyzing Moby Dick seemed more entertaining than conjugating French verbs.

As a result, when visiting foreign countries, I repeat phrases from a traveler’s dictionary with increasing volume to any approachable stranger and receive confused shoulder-shrugs or incorrect information due to my mangled pronunciations. A dapper gentleman once led me two blocks to a zoo when I asked for directions to a restroom. Conjugating verbs has its rewards.

Not Using sunscreen: In the sixties, my high school friends and I believed we’d be more attractive with a deep tan. So we slathered baby oil on any exposed skin and lounged on top of Meldrum’s chicken coop, miserably roasting in the sun, hoping to look like Annette Funicello — and failing.

Then my college roommates and I sunbathed on the thick grass of a cemetery that bordered our dorm. We misted water on our hot skin with a spray bottle, poked one another to test for doneness, kept a wary eye out for cemetery workers and suffered unsightly sunburns that drew looks of pity rather than admiration.

Years later, my youthful skin-toasting financed my dermatologist’s second home..

Being afraid to do things: Some things frighten me — deep water, selling things and fried liver; other things don’t — spiders, public speaking and Jack Nicholson in The Shining. My fears of climbing a Colorado fourteener and traveling by myself faded when I did those things, but no matter how many times I drive big-city interstates, my hair stands on end, and I hyperventilate. My age has nothing to do with it.

Caring too much about what other people think. When sunburn didn’t make my teenage face flame red, embarrassment did: “But nobody else will wear a coat; I’ll look stupid.” “I hate it when Dad sings while my friends are in the car. They look at each other.” “Why is it when I drive up with one of my boyfriends, Blaine and JL greet us by riding around on the tire-less rims of our old bicycle? They look deficient.”

Eventually, as they matured, my family quit embarrassing me. It’s nice.

Worrying too much. Evidently it’s OK to worry a little. I’m an outstanding worrier, so I’d hate to give it up completely. During the last five minutes, I fretted about my cravings for dessert, the sharp pain I had yesterday behind my eye, and whether the weatherman feels bad about his poor forecasting record.

With age, I’ve begun to realize the futility of some of my worries like fretting that I won’t be able to open an airplane’s emergency door after I assured the stewardess I could. But I still worry that not worrying about something will give it permission to happen.

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82 thoughts on “You’ll Regret It Someday

  1. “I sensed in 4th grade that I wouldn’t be a linguist when I failed to master Pig Latin.” – I’m still laughing over that, Janet. I tend to wear most mistakes like a badge of honor, but there were a couple of times I wish I had chosen to listen rather than learn the hard way.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Soaking up the sun was part of the culture, wasn’t it? Yet there were a few wise voices. I remember my grandmother telling me there was a reason ladies of the south and pioneer women used to wear hats and bonnets in the sun, which only perplexed me.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I can SO relate! The sun tanning obsession seized us all. I was thrilled this week to learn that I did NOT have a basil cell growing on my cheek. The one I had removed was on my forehead–close to the hairline, so the scar is almost invisible. I doubt I would have been so lucky this time.

    I’ll have to google the list–the ones you shared all rang true,(except for the fear part–I am sometimes foolishly fearless), so I want to check out the remainder.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I sometimes worry that I don’t worry when worrying would be wise I once flew alone on a 22 hour trip to Yaoundé in Cameroon, Africa. Starting in the west I flew to Chicago and then on to Zurich. Landing in Zurich I had 55 minutes to catch the only plane that week flying to Yaoundé. A wise person would have worried they might be spending a week in an airport if the plane to Zurich was 58 minutes late.
    Instead I spent 9 hours annoyed by a person behind talking so loud and the person in front leaning their seat into my lap.
    But regrets, I have a few….and I share some of yours, Janet.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’ve often marveled at the trip you took and, worrier that I am, rejoiced that you came back unscathed. Also, in the moment, I think the airplane irritants — or perhaps better said, idiots — would have outweighed even my tendency to worry as well..

      Liked by 2 people

  4. When everyone in my Freshman year of High School was taking German, I chose French instead. Conjugating verbs IS hard. When I visited France for the first time (at the age of 44), I proudly told the waiter, in French, that I was finished with my meal. He kindly smiled at me and said, “Madam, you just told me you were dead!” 😜

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Oh I didn’t want this one to end. You have such a knack for making something as serious as skin cancer have humor in financing your dermatologist second home! As always, I am reminded of how much I would love to share a cup of something warm at your kitchen table. Thank you for keeping life real, funny and worth laughing with. I adore your way of describing life!

    Liked by 7 people

    • Carrie, thank you for your kind words; they filled my heart with happiness. I often fantasize about sitting around a kitchen table in a sunshine filled room, talking and laughing with blog friends like you. For me, the best surprise about blogging is the closeness and sense of kinship that develops with fellow bloggers.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. I just read Carrie’s comment above, “… As always, I am reminded of how much I would love to share a cup… at your kitchen table.” At the end of the day – that sure is what it all boils down.
    As always Janet – an entertaining and insightful read.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Six familiar regrets…4 are mine, and I could add a different two or three. I’m too far along in my years to dwell on the things I haven’t done, however, so I’ll just accept the status quo, for now. But I always enjoy the way you put words together, Aunt Beulah!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thank you – yet another blog which made me smile. We also used coconut oil for a better tan – uniforms up, socks down at lunch time. The classroom had a certain aroma in the afternoon.
    I did learn French, and when trying to use it in France recently, the supercilious receptionist said “speak English , madam, it is easier.” But it was useful in Morocco, where it was a second language on both sides.
    And don’t get me started on worrying!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. You might enjoy this. 🙂 It seems you’re not alone. https://youtu.be/sTJ7AzBIJoI

    I have regrets, too. My biggest one is that I didn’t realize at 22 and was working at Head Ski in Boulder in the Marketing Department AND the Accounting Department AND on the line that they were grooming me as a keeper. I quit. Now I know I could’ve had free skis , remained in Colorado, made a great income and had a semi-glamorous ski life pitching skis, maybe all over the world. I had no idea where I was or what moment in history. I had the idea that I was “missing out” and should go to graduate school so I could spend my life correcting college essays. I loved teaching, but I’m pretty sure I’d have been able to adjust to a life traveling around pushing skis and tennis rackets and skiing. I even designed one of their posters back in the day.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m not done with the my way yet but do regret- Not listening to the dentist, not being wiser with money and thinking of retirement, not paying attention in English class, math, science, P.E. or Hyigene.or spellinge. Do not regret setting out alone, you meet the Godfreys that way. great post Janet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sheila. What a good decision you made setting out alone and meeting all the Godfrey-types that people your wonderful writing. You surprised a guffaw with spellinge, and I share your regret about ignoring your dentist.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I can relate to many of these. I studied for a semester in Austria, learning German while there. I tried to put it into use. People actually understood what I was asking! Or so I think. My friends asked, so what did the woman tell you about restaurants? And I said, “I have no idea.” Fortunately, many people speak English in Europe, so we otherwise managed.
    I remember purposely burning my skin as a teenager b/c it was the only way I could get the most pathetic unnoticeable to all but me tan. I remember thinking to myself, I deserve skin cancer for this. At age 21, I got it, and have had several moles removed since. (as have you, I imagine, from what you said.)
    Worrying is also one of my biggest bugaboos. I remember a story of a preacher stating that, I don’t know what the % was, we’ll say 90% of the things people worry about never end up happening. Then one guy in the back stood and yelled, “So it works!” That’s pretty much how I feel too. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I loved your declarative statements at the ends of each segment!

    I once heard this advice (don’t remember where): “At the end of your life you’ll have more regrets over the things you didn’t do than over the things you’ve done.” Probably, mostly, true?

    But—as for the sunscreen issue—I subscribe to the notion that I made my own decisions, no one could have “told me what to do” (a typical young person’s attitude) and now I have to live with the consequences—sagging skin and a wealthy dermatologist.

    Thanks for another thoughtful post, Janet!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Rita. It seems to me that you’ve heeded the advice about things not done vs. done. You’ve done so much. Like you, the sunscreen thing is one of my foremost regrets.

      Like

  13. Clever response to topics I also ‘worry’ over. Even the other 30 some we may have missed. I love the comment ‘ I wish I could say I did it my way, but I did it every which way’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you liked the “every which way” comment, Audrey. It was made by the dear friend I often tell you about, the retired nurse who lives in Reno. She is so funny. In my memories of her, we are always laughing.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Yep….I laid out in the sun and slapped oil all over me and set myself in a kiddie pool so that the water would attract even more rays!!!! It’s a miracle I didn’t fry like a french fry in a vat of grease! How clue-less were we???? You’re so silly….cute post. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course, you still want to justify them, Jeffrey; I did as well at your age. I think that attitude goes with being young. And as you can tell from the other comments, most people my age have some regrets from their youth.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Ohhh Aunt B. I have loved every word of this post. I felt like the child I used to be, sat at your knee, while you told me of the things I really shouldn’t be bothering with …. only the sun tanning one I already tried, and I’m the biggest worry wart I know. But … I’m trying to let go of worry because I know that worrying about something simply won’t do a bloomin’ thing. It just makes a problem give you a headache. So I’m trying to get better.

    Sending you oodles of squidges. Thank you so much for sharing this post with us.
    ~ Cobs. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for enjoying my post. In turn, I really enjoyed the oodles of squidges, but would probably have enjoyed them more if I knew what they were. Do you provide translations? As one worry wart to another, I, too, get headaches and tell myself not to worry about things yet to happen, but often give in to weakness and worry. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad my words made you smile. Indeed, doing so makes me smile. I’m glad I wrote this post because I learned that many of my blog friends worry as well. In fact, now I’m a bit worried about those who don’t!

      Like

  16. I do not remember there being sunscreen back in the 60s. I did use tanning lotion, though, because the high plains of Colorado did not have any humidity [still doesn’t] and I did not want to burn. I was a fool for the sun back there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I, too, learned late in life not to care what others thought; and I, too, regret the time I wasted caring. But let’s both enjoy our new attitudes now! Thanks for finding my blog and commenting. I’ll visit yours soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I am reading this in between driving here and there, and I am so glad I did because it really made my day! Laughing hysterically because you have such a humorous outlook on life and you express it so, but also because I relate to a lot of what you are saying!

    As a worrier who has cut back on worry, I completely agree that total abstinence would be tempting fate way too much.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Sunscreen! Oy, yes. As I sit here with a bandaid on my throat from a skin biopsy, and a sore spot (liquid nitrogen) on my forehead. Coming of age in the ’80s had its drawbacks, I guess. I feel your pain!

    Liked by 1 person

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