Friday, September 26, 2014

No Regrets

Friday, September 26, 2014

Several years ago, I went to see Ember Swift perform at the Pump House.  I had never seen nor heard of her before, but my sister had gone to her concert the previous night, and told me I would really enjoy the show.  And I did.  She was a guitar playing singer/songwriter, with a cool little back up band.  Her music was edgy, kind of indie, and it pulled you in.  Her bass player was a woman, I'm pretty sure she was also her girlfriend.  And I could definitely see why.  Watching her play...I don't know, there was just something about her.  Playing for the other team did not sound like such a foreign concept that evening.  Of course, I was with my husband, so I didn't delve into a conversation about it.  Now that I think about it, I can picture the look on his face, had I said " kinda think that bass player is sexy."  No, it would not be the look of "Oh my God, Beth.  You have got to be kidding me!"  It would more likely have been "Oh my God, Beth!  Can I watch?"  (Did I just write that on my blog, where everyone in the world can read it?  I mean, I really don't care.  I'm guessing if you read this regularly, you may have figured out that I don't have any big privacy issues.  I am what I am.  If you don't like it....well, not much I can do about that.  However, I may not encourage my beloved to read this one.  He doesn't always appreciate my candor.  He thinks I just blurt out anything I am thinking.  Whatever.
The reason that I even bring this concert up, is that the first track on Ember's album "The Dirty Pulse" (okay, let's take a moment and look at the title.  You can see where this album is going.  And they serve alcohol at the Pump House....which, of course, tends to be in direct communication to one's libido...or so I am told. ;)  And Ember is this gorgeous, leggy blonde, and her bass player is this really cool looking woman, with a beautiful face, funky, short brown hair....and the two of them have this ongoing non-verbal communication happening between them the entire evening.  It's kind of hot.  So, of course every woman in the room suddenly is considering becoming a lesbian.)
as long as we have THAT straight....the first track is called "No Regrets."  (And no, I don't regret any thoughts I may or may not have had that evening.  And I hope I don't regret writing about it.)

Regret.  Ah....this word.  Here are some definitions of regret:
"Upset over past action."
"Express sorrow."
"Weep and make sad sounds." (I like this one in particular)
"Mental suffering."
While all of these things sound lovely and desirable, perhaps it would be better to live a life without them in it.  
I think society (and our parents) conditions us to live with regret.  We are to feel shameful for all the terrible things we have done.  Do I regret tying my sister's hands behind her back and then pushing her down.  Yes, of course.  But in my defense, I was young, and as she was falling face first into the CARPET (I wasn't completely heartless) I still recall having the moment of "oh crap....she is going to land right on her face!" I suppose it was a learning moment for both of us.  For me, I have the ability to be cruel and deceitful.  For her, never trust your older sister when she is carrying rope.

I have been thinking about all of the stupid things I have done as a young (and not so young) adult, and really analyzing it.  Do I feel true regret for these actions?  How would my life be different now, had I changed my behavior?  
Honestly, the only regrets I have are if I ended up hurting anyone because of the decision I made, or because of my behavior.  I don't regret what I did, because every experience led me to where I am now.  Sure, it would have been a lot simpler had I chosen an easier path, and avoided all of the pain and heartache that I went through over the years....but what would I have learned from that?  

I used to regret not going on to school after I graduated from college.  I would look back and think "maybe you could have performed for a few years.  Think of all the experiences you missed out on!"
Now that I am old and brilliant (let's just go with that for now) I think about all the experiences I had as a teacher, a mom, a wife, and all of the other hats I have worn over the past 20 years.  Had I chosen differently, I may be sitting alone in some apartment right now, wishing I had a husband and kids, and wondering if that part of my life has passed me by.  
Have I made mistakes?  OH YEAH.  Lots and lots of them.  Some of them have been doozies.  But, when I look back, I can see a girl who was confused, depressed, who had no direction or purpose.  I see a girl who was trying to figure out how to be happy, but had no idea where to look.  It's funny to know now that I was wearing the ruby slippers the entire time.  I think we often search outside of ourselves for what we think will make us happy.  When, in reality, it is what is on the inside that changes everything.  It took me a looooong time to figure that out.  It almost broke me a few times. It forced me to reevaluate everything in my life, and determine where my priorities were.  It involved asking for forgiveness.  It involved burying my ego.  It involved being authentic and true to myself.  But guess what, I don't regret it.  I brought me to the place I am now.  

I was thinking about "Bucket Lists" the other day.  I know a lot of people have them. I think of it as "things you will regret not doing before you die" list.  I was trying to come up with some things to put in my "bucket."  People usually put a big trip in there.  I am a horrible traveler.  The older I get, the worse I seem to be.  I have endured and entire landing with my head in the toilet, because my stomach thought THAT was a good time to act up.  I have passed out in an airplane bathroom, and woke up, wondering why my face was on the floor.  On my last trip, I actually got car sick (in my defense, we were in St. Lucia, where the straightest road looks like this ~....but most of them look like this @.....up and down mountains.  Anyway, thank God my husband was sitting next to me, and had the presence of mind to know when I was past the point of no return...and grabbed my shopping bag....(the one with a hole in the bottom.) I won't go into the details.   
I think I would enjoy a nice, leisurely bed and breakfast-type "let's stop at all the cute shops" trip down the East Coast.  That is more my speed.  In a car.  That I am driving.
I hate to exercise.  More accurately....I hate the thought of exercise.  I actually don't mind it once I'm doing it.  I would really like to be 100% happy with my body.  Or even 85%.  Or how about we just go for "I want to be physically fit." Throw that in the bucket.
Performing with my daughter.  She amazes me....I will keep this in "the bucket" for life.  This is something that feeds my soul and fills my heart.  NO REGRETS HERE!! 

Maybe you are picking up on the fact that it is hard for me to fill my bucket.  A lot of things that I would have put in there 10 years ago, I have done.  I got back into performing, and had a couple of years where I did a ton of that.  I did the Eva Cassidy show (probably the highlight of my life).  We bought the big, yellow house.  I won't sit here and list all of the things I have done.  I will say that there are only two things I haven't done, that need to happen in my lifetime.
1. Write a book....and have it published. (obviously)
2. Write and record my own album.
That's it.  I am finally in a place of no regrets.  For me, that is called contentment.  This is probably the first time in my life I have ever felt it.  The first time I have ever felt like I didn't need to go out and hunt for whatever it is that is missing in my life.   I can sit in my home (that I LOVE) and just breathe, and feel at peace with everything in my life.  

What does living without regret feel like for you?  
And, if you do feel regret, what can you do to change it?
No one gets to the end of a long life and says "I wish I hadn't done that."  Regret is often about something we haven't done yet.  
Guess what?  It's not too late! :)

Happy Friday!

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