The only things I think about seriously enough to believe that I must regret them are not the things for which I am constantly made to feel as if I should atone. I regret the way I’ve made the people who love me the most feel - not the stupid shit I’ve done to myself. I’ve done a lot of things that seem to be considered mistakes, and I’m old enough now to realize that doesn’t make me seem either awesome or tough. But, you know, I’d probably be exactly where I am right now, no matter what grand proclimations I made to myself as a petulant teenager.
I regret that as a foolish and capricious teenager, I did not respect my parents enough to understand that high school performance, though not tied to college success, would help me earn scholarships that would have prevented my parents from shouldering the burden of my education, and would have helped me enter college with the confidence to not need to screw up so many times. I don’t regret screwing up, or being audacious in the ways that I expressed my freedom and my too-cool-for-school party girl self, but I do regret the lack of intellectual and academic confidence that drove me there, and convinced me that I had little else for which I would be noticed, other than my ability to drink really fast and hang out in fraternity houses. I regret that while I made my own mistakes, I pushed out people who would persistently continue to play an active role in my life with little regard for their feelings, but honestly, I don’t really regret making those mistakes.
Of the things that I’ve done that are most often mentioned in sentances with the word “regret,” I can’t say that I really regret them either. I don’t really regret my Amy Winehouse phase - not the ridiculous things I wore or pierced or ingested. I don’t really regret experimenting with my adolescent life to a point that helped me make informed decisions about the behaviors I wanted to make a part of my future. I’ve always been a person who seemed completely unable to learn from the mistakes of those around me, and to be honest, I’ve always wondered if the people who were able to do that were any fun to hang out with anyway. I’m not opposed to these people; I just don’t understand them.