Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Yes regrets, yes grace

I don't like the phrase "No regrets."

I, for one, have some.

So initially, the maxim rubs me the wrong way because I'm immediately left out of this club with no wishes that things had been different, no dislike of my past decisions or, worse, of my basic character. Because it was me, in fact, who made whatever decisions I made, yes? Last I checked, this was the case.

Already I'm not only behind in this club, but in being unable to go back in time, I will never catch up.

Where does that leave me?

Well for one, out of the club.

And two, left here with these gross and unwelcome regrets.


Before you put up a hand and stop me, I realize that maybe the motto can be used as the turning over of a new leaf in life, the choosing to make decisions so as to no longer have regrets going forward.

But again: this is helpful how?

I don't mean to sound so sassy -- though I seem to be coming across that way -- I mean rather to have a serious and forgiving discussion here.

Forgiving of ourselves.

I have regrets.

Not "no regrets." Yes regrets.

Not: "Yay! Regrets!"

But simply, yes. Regrets.

I've got some of those. And while I'd like to shed some of them, well, I can't.

I've been reflecting on my time spent abroad in college (way back when) during this past week, and you know what a lot of it has been?


I've been back in the States for nearly 10 years and to this day I still don't really like to talk about Africa.

Not because I hated the culture, or the people, or the heat or the dust -- um, hello, I chose to move to Los Angeles, which is essentially the same climate -- but because I didn't like who I was while I was over there.

I don't know where to start exactly, but I could start just about anywhere in terms of categories of regrets during my time abroad because there were that many regrets.

I was scared. I was young. I was stubborn.

I didn't exercise while over there, in part* because I was afraid I would get stranded from my pack of fellow American runners and then be a vulnerable, lost tourist.

*The other part of that decision was due to the fact that large loaves of bread were baked for us almost nightly, and I enjoyed slathering slices of it with butter rather than slathering my thighs with sunscreen and going out for a jog.

Today, I would go for a run. I would have street smarts, but I would pray and hope for the best, and go for a run.**

**This would be a good time to point out that while crime rates are, in some regions, high, they aren't at 100 percent. I don't want to give the impression that Africans are a people to be feared. I reallllly don't want to project that idea. That would be a regret if I left you with that impression.

I lived in a house in the country of Namibia with 20 other people and got time to myself on very rare occasions that I can recall.


I would get myself in a taxi, pay one American dollar to get myself downtown, and go sit my arse in a coffee shop!!!

For crying out loud!



I would have an internship.

I would find a place to go hiking.

I would go to Victoria Falls.

I would make friends with the locals (I did this a little bit, but not to a great extent).

I would have a better attitude.

I would ask my host families more questions about themselves and their lives.

I would I would I would.

This is nothing new that I'm saying here; we all wish we had done things differently.

There might be some people out there who legitimately have no regrets, and maybe I should interview them for my next freelance journalistic endeavor. (My guess would be that a lot of them do not in fact, actually have zero regrets, but that they take an attitude of "I've learned from all my mistakes/experiences," therefore they don't count them as regrets. Which, coming from a semantics perspective, I kind of view as cheating. No?)

But meanwhile, I have a new mantra that I've found myself saying, even with its slight religious undertone.

Give yourself some grace.

I've noticed myself saying it to coworkers so far.

I'm not going to wax on about its meaning too much; rather I'm going to let it speak for itself. And also I'm going to stop typing here soon so I can go to bed, as I don't like to be up late.

And I'm going to give myself some grace by letting myself cut the blog post short in a space where the mantra can speak for itself.


I am training for a half marathon, and until today, I hadn't missed a single workout that is etched out in my training plan.

I didn't technically miss today's workout, but I was supposed to cover five miles, and I started mile 4 and capitulated. I decided I didn't have enough calories in my body, and I traipsed upstairs and shoveled Apple Jacks into my face and then called Alex.

He asked how I was.

"I failed at my workout."

"Oh no! What happened?"

"I was supposed to do 5 miles and I only did 3. I just didn't have enough food in me."

Without pause, he said, "Aw, well maybe it's time for dinner, Babe."

First of all, I heart him so much. I heart him for giving me grace and for calling me 'Babe' and for just being so darn cute and letting me eat dinner.

[And yes, I might be in Swoony Stage where I swoon when someone suggests I eat a meal at a normal meal hour.]


Second, grace grace grace.

Yes regrets. Yes grace.

Alex and I are going to Hawaii this week, and we already have a pretty baller itinerary planned. One that will trump my semester in southern Africa, regrets-wise.


I can plan, but I can't carry out the future. I walk into the future, but I can't carry out my plans perfectly as laid.

So there may be some Hawaii regrets. Who knows?

But there will be meeting of the (hostel) locals (OK fine, we'll call them "locals"). There will be hiking. There will be coffee shops (A. doesn't drink coffee, but I will see to it that there are java stops).

And there will be grace.

Give yourself some grace.


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