I’m listening to Kathie Lee interview Dolly Parton on a podcast and she asks her if she has any regrets…if she could change anything, would she…her response paraphrased but almost exact:
“I wouldn’t change a thing…cause if I changed one thing, it might change everything, and I like where I am now…”
Oh Dolly…you know I love you…and as much as I try and emulate your sound advice and soul stirring wisdom I’m stretching on this one and coming up short.
You can bet your pretty wigs I have regrets.
Where shall I begin…
I regret losing my virginity at 16…or at least I think I did…I’m not quite sure actually. He was a freshman in college and I had the biggest crush on him when he was a senior and I was a freshman…in high school. I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16. It was the Hearts and Flowers banquet at our high school, held on February 14…the day after I turned date-me-legal-16. The event was all about “favoriting” your classmates. Mr. & Miss Spring High School, Most Likely to Succeed, Class Favorites, Most Handsome and Most Beautiful…I won the title of Most Beautiful for my class…in complete shock, I waited for pigs blood to fall from a bucket overhead just like I’d seen in the movie Carrie, proving this was some sort of joke being played on me and my home perm and borrowed dress. There was a dance that followed. Being the tried and true baptist preacher’s daughter, I wasn’t permitted to attend; however, it was okay for me to leave the site of adult chaperones and go on a date with my 19 year old suitor. Yay me. Our “date” was not at the picture show or malt shop, as my parents might have hoped…no…it was directly across the street at a cheap hotel. I remember being underneath him and feeling “weird” but no one had ever explained exactly how the puzzle pieces work and I later read in Seventeen magazine that you experience light bleeding after your first time. For the second time that evening, there was no blood. However, there was regret. I’m a huge advocate of “waiting”, and I am happy to talk to your kids about sex if you are afraid to do it yourself.
I regret not working harder to be the “smart girl”. I waited way too long to nurture my nerdy side. I was too busy wondering why my boyfriend wasn’t returning my calls and wondering if I should wash my hair before we go out or just hot roll it and call it good.
I regret not being prouder of my parents. I am so crazy about these two now, but I did everything in my power to make others wonder if I even owned parents. Shame on me. They are incredible. I’m sorry.
I regret thinking I had to “go somewhere” and dragging my girls 40 minutes to Midland to buy crap. I was trying so hard to fill a void. I was love starved and sometimes a new scent of Downy or bath rug was enough to fix me…for a minute. I wish I’d stayed home and just stared at them while they played. There was not one thing I needed more than just to soak it all in. They grew up too fast.
I regret my affair. Yes. I had one…after 16 years of marriage I gave in to some much needed attention. I would stand in front of a train to stop you from having one. Don’t do it. Even if you’re sad, miserable and lonely…don’t. Dance with the one that brought ya or leave with your dignity.
What do I regret more than how my marriage ended…dating a guy 9 years my junior and thinking I loved him. He watched South Park and even named his dog after one of the characters. His behavior was off the charts immature but I withstood so much thanks to post divorce numbness and lack of self worth. He cheated… I took it as penance. He was incapable of telling the truth, would go missing for 48 hours unexplained…but he took me salsa dancing. Geez. The things we tolerate when we are lost ducks….If I didn’t regret this, I would ask that those nearest and dearest to me commit me to a treatment facility for psychosis.
I regret taking waaaayyyyyy too long to love myself and establish boundaries that forbid toxic individuals to invade my space without the girl-balls to say….”go away”.
I regret not trying harder to keep Rabbit Martinis alive. I was half in, half the time. I didn’t care if I failed because I already felt like a failure. Stupid. Lubbock deserved better. I had customers that drove 30 minutes across town for a juice fix and I feel like I let them down. I’m sorry.
I regret cutting bangs…more than once. Why do we do it. I look like a third grader with wrinkles…every time.
I regret not being bolder about my faith. I’ve known about Jesus my whole life. I didn’t share the plan of salvation with my very best friend. She called me at 20 years old and said these words: “How dare you…you knew if I didn’t know Jesus and I died I would go to hell and you didn’t tell me?!….Don’t you ever NOT tell someone what you know.” After that our friendship became so much richer and sweeter with Jesus as our common denominator. We prayed together…encouraged one another. She was the one who held my hand and loved me anyway when she knew all my “ugly”. She was the one that convicted me when I was not living a life that mirrored the life Christ would have me live. Regret. Yes. Big time. This is the friend that is now fighting stage 4 brain cancer and trusting the ONE I was too embarrassed to tell her about. She found Him..and she found Him real good. But it wasn’t from me. Don’t not tell someone about God. Don’t not share the love of our Creator with those around you. Be brave enough to offer hope and eternity. It matters.
I have regrets. I might even regret posting this blog. But more than regrets I have grace…and a man that loves me in spite of all my flaws and failures. Don’t be shy to say you have some things you wish you’d done differently…it’s okay. We all do. Life is filled with choices and we don’t always make the best decisions. We can learn from them and move on.
I like where I am now. …but I do have honest regret. They don’t define me, or consume my thoughts…I simply acknowledge them and appreciate the lessons learned.
And I like the lessons I’ve learned and the challenges that have kept me up at night and caused me to beg God for answers. Some days I go to bed feeling like I’ve made a positive difference in the world and some days I go to bed wondering why I’m here in the first place. But it’s in these thoughts that I remember these words…All I know is today and tomorrow will offer new opportunities to get it right.