I must say, I have very few regrets. I am very lucky in that regard. All that said, I do have some, and sometimes they surface, making me ask the inevitable, What if…?
I remember in college my Anthropology professor offered me the chance to be her student assistant during her sabbatical to Mali. I was excited, because that position was usually reserved for graduate students, and I was only a junior in college. That position could mean a slot in the graduate program (which at the time was very difficult to get). But after enjoying the accolades from fellow students, I realized I could never go. My parents were paying for part of my schooling, and my sister’s as well. The money I was earning was barely able to pay for food and incidentals, so I couldn’t save up for the flight and the expenses, since the position was that of an unpaid intern. So, I turned it down, knowing that I was passing up a huge opportunity, but also knowing the timing was not good. Years later, talking with my dad about that, he looked at me as if I had grown another head, and asked me why in the world I didn’t ask. In retrospect, it was fear that kept me from asking. Fear of being told “No”. My dad being a very smart man, told me that not only should I never be afraid of the word “No”, I should also not be afraid of accepting it, or rejecting it.
I used to regret not having gone to Mali. But I am glad that I have learned to regret the things I’ve done, rather than the ones I didn’t get to do, like dyeing my hair a chocolate cherry color.
Now, there’s a regret about which I laugh!!