Monday, May 18, 2009

Regrets

Do you have regrets? Do you ever look back over your life and wish you would've done some things differently? My hubby and I and a couple of other friends were talking this past weekend about the recreational leagues we're in. One friend mentioned his tennis league and its method of arranging players into divisions. It's based on your answers to certain questions: 1)Did you play tennis in high school? 2)Did you advance to a regional or state event? 3)Did you play tennis at the collegiate level? etc, etc. Those questions got me thinking. I could answer yes to two of them, but tennis was really just an afterthought by the time high school rolled around. At around the age of 12 or 13, I was a pretty damn good tennis player. I practiced at least 3 times a week, and had a tournament at least 2 weekends out of every month. I had a lot of promise and had already achieved a lot of success, but I was incredibly exhausted. It was emotionally and physically draining. So I quit. I just walked away. In 10th grade, my high school tennis coach asked me to join the team, and I obliged. I hadn't played in 2 or 3 years, but I still had the fundamentals. I couldn't make it to very many practices since I had already picked up volleyball and softball by then, but I went to all the district matches. I definitely wasn't fully devoted to it because of all my other commitments, and I was nowhere near as good as I once was. But, I still did pretty well in district and state. Looking back now, I wonder what would've happened if I hadn't quit at age 13. How good could I have been? I regret not sticking with it because I feel like I wasted my natural talent.

Ever since I was little, I've had an affinity for Notre Dame. I'd watch the football games with my dad, buy Irish signs for my walls, wear their t-shirts proudly, request a Notre Dame blanket for my birthday, etc, etc. My parents knew how much I liked ND, so they bought tickets to one of the football games and flew the family up there when I was in high school. It was amazing. Being on that campus felt so right. And sitting in the stands during that football game was like a surreal experience. I revered their traditions and wanted very badly to be a part of them. When it came time to start filling out college applications, you can guess which one I filled out first. I even applied during the early admission period, which had more stringent standards. When I got my acceptance letter in the mail, I'm pretty sure I cried. And when I realized they were giving me a scholarship to go there, I was ecstatic. So am I a Notre Dame alumna today? Nope. You see, for the last two years of my high school career, I had been dating this particular guy. We had gotten pretty serious and started making plans for the future. He hadn't applied or been accepted to Notre Dame, so me moving to South Bend for 4+ years would pretty much end our relationship. He had, however, been accepted to Texas Tech University. So, I could go to Notre Dame and turn my back on my boyfriend, or I could go to Texas Tech and keep seeing him (and be much closer to my family). So I chose Texas Tech. Three months into my freshman year we broke up. I regret giving up my dream of attending Notre Dame, for a high school flame.

But if I really think about it, do I honestly regret these things? Do I want my life as I live it right now, to be any different? Would I be willing to give up the "alternate" memories I have because of the decisions I made?

If I had continued playing competitive tennis, and devoted my life to it, there's no way I would've played softball or volleyball in high school. I probably wouldn't have played high school tennis either, since I'd be focusing solely on USTA tournaments and moving up in those rankings. Being on the volleyball and softball teams are some of my fondest memories from high school. I had no idea I was any good at volleyball until I played it in gym one day. Before I knew it, I was the freshman girl who made the varsity team. By my senior year, I was team captain, received first team all-district honors, and was having the time of my life. Over on the softball field, I was a part of an incredibly talented team of girls, under the leadership of a phenomenal coach. Our practices, games, and team trips were a blast. I'll never forget the game-winning hit I had against Ft. Worth Nolan, or the game-saving backhanded grab I made at second base. On the tennis court, I was paired up with a classmate who I would've called a friend at the time, but not a great friend. Two years of doubles brought us closer together, and she's now one of my best friends. She stood by my side on my wedding day, and I'll be standing by hers this October. I cherish these memories and experiences, and they wouldn't have occurred had I stuck with competitive tennis.

After I broke up with my high school sweetheart three months into my career at Texas Tech, I was devastated. I had no other friends there and had devoted all my time and attention to him. I couldn't believe I wasn't at Notre Dame. Then I met Jeremiah. I'll spare you all the details in-between, but we've been together more than 7 years now, and have been married for 3. He's my best friend, my partner, and the love of my life. If I had gone to Notre Dame, I wouldn't be married to him. There's absolutely no way I would've even met him. Acknowledging that makes me realize I have no regrets about choosing Tech. And in case you haven't noticed, I bleed red and black today. I take great pride in my alma mater, and I can't imagine cheering for any other school. I also can't forget the amazing friends I met there.

So screw regrets! I've got none. I'm glad I made the choices I did, and I wouldn't change a thing. I hope you can look back on your life and feel the same way!

“Forget regret, or life is yours to miss.” - Jonathan Larson

1 comment:

Shawn said...

Fantastic - I agree. I would have never met Patrick if I hadn't followed the twisted, sometimes ridiculous path I was on. I wouldn't be as close to my parents as I am today. And while I am not screaming "SFA!" or sporting a bumper sticker (it was a loooong time ago!) I am very proud of the education I got there.

Everything is shaped by the choices we make. I like how some of my worst decisions have led me to the amazing place I am now. I may not be as successful as I dreamed of being, but it depends on what you mean by success. I would say on my terms, I have a great life and I wouldn't want to change a thing.

Thank you!!! Such a good post.