Art by Sacha Irick
“If I could go back” is an extremely dangerous phrase, especially coupled with “I would change —.” Like anyone, there were have been many points in my life I have wished I had a redo button, a la “Click.” Many times I reflect on the moments, ranging in severity, and mock my younger self thinking, “If she only knew what I do now.”
Now that the chapter titled “My Freshman Year in College” is coming to a close, I’m able to reflect on it. Although I despise the word “regret,” I have many “wishes” (things I wish I had done differently). Hopefully flushing a few of my “wishes” out on paper can teach you and me a lesson going forward.
First off, I wish I would have never heard “Uptown Funk.” Or downloaded it. Or played it on repeat. Because of my actions, I have not had a peaceful sleep in who knows how long, because whenever I close my eyes all I hear is, “’Cause uptown funk gon’ give it to you. Saturday night and we in the spot. Don’t believe me just watch.”
I should’ve carved out more time for reading. I love to read and always have, but, since starting college, the time I set aside for discovering new books and reading them is nonexistent. The only time I can catch up is on the flights back and forth from home, which is a tragedy itself. I haven’t been to all the incredible secondhand bookstores I promised myself I would go to. The apocalyptic-themed bookstore, ironically called the “Last Bookstore,” has been waiting for me to return after my adventure last year, and I’ve left it hanging.
I would’ve never signed up for Netflix. Endless streaming opportunities, my favorite TV shows and movies cued up for me to binge-watch, flawless interface, accessibility from my BluRay remote. Actually, scratch that. Netflix has brought me more joy and happiness than any human can. I regret nothing.
I wished I had unplugged hours. Not every email has to be sent at 2 a.m. or every phone call and text immediately answered. Unfortunately, we live in a culture and time period where people can contact you 24/7 and expect an instantaneous response. Sometimes, you need to have self-designated unplugged periods when there is no pressure to respond.
I regret not studying more. Had I studied half the time I spent on social media, I’d be on “Shark Tank” right now selling them my world-saving inventions. Or I would’ve done a lot better on that one midterm.
I should’ve taken more time for myself, to slow down and enjoy life. Paraphrasing Ferris Bueller’s iconic quote, college moves pretty fast, and if you don’t slow down, you’re going to miss it. But that doesn’t mean I should’ve quit my job, dropped out of school and moved to the Himalayas. Decidedly, I should’ve taken more time to enjoy the quiet moments in-between. I especially should’ve gone to the beach more to avoid people asking why I’m so pale since I live in Malibu. The answer is I refuse to go outside ever.
Most importantly, I would’ve stopped second-guessing myself. Yes, in some alternate universe of infinite realities I’m already the President or Jennifer Lawrence’s best friend. But Earth Madison is doing pretty well for herself considering. At some point you have to realize that the past is in stone, and there’s nothing you can do but move forward and do the best you can. Because if you go to bed each night knowing you gave it your all, you’re doing pretty well in my book.
So my friends, please live with no ragrets. Not even a single letter.
Follow Madison on Twitter: @mad_har