Posts Tagged ‘KISS’

“I’ve long since retired, and my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind.”
He said, “I’d love to, dad, if I could find the time
You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kid’s got the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you.”
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me” ~ Henry Chapin, “Cat’s in the Cradle”. 1974


I love this song for the very fact that it’s sad. I’m a sucker for sad songs. It oozes regret, a topic that is responsible for selling millions of albums, books, and plays, something that we can all identify with. Who hasn’t felt regret at one time or another over any variety of things: a breakup, a harsh word, a missed opportunity? But one often hears celebrities (usually the loud and brash ones) announcing to the world that they have no regrets, or that everyone should live their lives with no regrets. Easier said than done, I say.

I’m just going to come out with it: I think people who say they have no regrets are either lying or deluding themselves. Let’s think about it for a minute. I’d be willing to bet money on the fact that every person reading this has, at one time or another, said something to hurt someone else, either purposely or accidently. If you have a soul, that’s something that would register as a regret. I have many of those. Words spoken in anger or frustration, little (and not so little) white lies that pop out without thinking, a passive aggressive move. I’ve caused hurt in my life. It’s not something I’m proud of, but something I need to be honest about in order to be a better person. The never-ending quest.

Now, I do believe that there are choices that we may regret temporarily, but in the long run, those choices led us to a happier place in our lives. For example, I sometimes think that I regret not finishing college all at once when I was in my late teens/early twenties. I didn’t have anyone to pay for me, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I went to cosmetology school while working three jobs instead. As a result, I didn’t end up finishing college until I was 33 years old, which really kind of sucked professionally. On the other side of that coin though, graduating cosmetology school and going to work at Greenfield Village meant that I met my husband, we had our three amazing boys, I turned period hair into a business, and I met lifelong friends and business contacts. (If anyone wants a book on period hairstyles, please let me know!) Looking back now, I wouldn’t trade one for the other. That part of my life, while not the norm for college-bound students, worked out the way it was supposed to.

Old lovers are another thing that one can regret at the time, but later one realizes that it was all for the best. I don’t think that there will ever be a shortage of songs about that. “Unanswered Prayers” by Garth Brooks or “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts are great examples. Looking back as an adult, I sometimes have serious questions about what my younger self was thinking about some of those old boyfriends. I may have needed a slap upside the head. Of course, those can also be attributed to a learning experience. If I say it enough, I might convince myself that one or two of those really set me on the right path. (Disclaimer: I will never tell which ones they were.)

Then, there are those regrets that will probably sting forever. The time I didn’t spend with grandparents before they passed. The friends I let slip away because I didn’t communicate. Not calling the police on the step-monster. Not answering the phone when my friend, Moe, called to tell me that KISS was at the radio station and I needed to get my butt down there. Well, you get the idea. There are things that we can’t fix. We can’t go back in time and change it up, but what we can do is learn from the mistakes. We can spend time with those we love, think before we speak to our children, call that friend back. Wake up and answer the damn phone.

There are the hard decisions that I don’t regret: leaving teaching, staying home with my babies when they were little, starting therapy, deciding to write on the side. The writing thing opens me up to rejection, which is a scary, scary thing, but I have a therapist to help me with that.

In a nutshell, maybe there is something to the sentiment that one should live life with no regrets. Maybe, instead of boldly stating that we have no regrets at all, we should live with the aim of not being able to regret anything. Will we be successful? Not in a million years, but maybe we’ll think a little more, care a little more, love our neighbor a little more. What will matter on our deathbed: the date we got our college degrees or did our kids know that we loved them? That we had a big house or that we made a difference in a life?

Things to think about. What do you regret?


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