I know the kosher answer to this question is "Nothing, because every choice I've made has taught me something about myself."
That's all well and good—and it's probably true. But I also think it's BS. No one wants to admit that they messed up or confess to a golden opportunity they failed to see.
And while the past is the past and there's nothing you can do to change it, that doesn't mean you can't think about it every now and again and wonder what would've happened if . . .
So, here's my list.
I'll warn you right now that this list is a lot more personal than what I usually post, which is why you won't find long explanations to go with each one. The details could get me in even more trouble. But I'm putting it up in the hopes that it will help you think about what would be on your list.
Maybe if we all spend a little time considering our lists now, we'll be more likely to recognize the next golden opportunity before it's gone or keep ourselves from messing up in the future. I know that's wishful thinking and hindsight is 20/20 and blah, blah, blah. But I still think this will be a useful exercise for me.
Plus I'm trying to put off packing for my trip/cleaning the house before I leave/writing my book. Indulge me.
Okay. Here goes . . .
1. Saying "I love you." Even though it was true, I shouldn't have said it.
2. Hiding in the laundry room and not answering my phone.
3. Stubbornly pouting through Peter Pan.
4. Quitting piano. (duh)
5. Writing a letter. Actually, several. I tend to say more than I should in writing. Surprise, surprise.
6. Buying those expensive heels I hardly ever wore.
7. Not taking journalism in school.
8. Not taking my college grades seriously.
9. All those times I totally binged on my mom's cooking. Like way beyond full.
10. Playing minesweeper instead of playing with my two-year-old brother.
11. Checking my phone while driving.
12. Not even applying to anywhere but BYU.
13. Waiting to be kissed.
14. Not writing to Nani while she was on her mission or sending her birthday cards when I said I would.
15. Being too afraid of failing at sports that I didn't even try them.
16. Sleeping on the edge of the tarp.
17. Not standing up for a friend.
18. Not taking a semester off to refocus.
19. Walking away too quickly instead of waiting to let the moment play out.
20. Taking the easy route.
21. Dropping Ali.
22. Using the word "stench" when I shouldn't have.
23. Getting so mad over little things that didn't matter.
24. Not renewing my passport.
25. Wearing pigtails way past when it was age appropriate.
26. Pretending to be okay with my life when I really wasn't.
27. Making my siblings eat that bag of carrots.
28. Not protecting Jeeves better.
29. Slamming James's finger in the door.
30. Missing so many sunsets and sunrises.
31. Obsessing over guys who weren't interested in me.
32. Attempting to reread The Da Vinci Code. Once was more than enough.
33. Missing parts of or entire family vacations because I thought I needed to be at school or work.
34. Not sending my grandma that letter.
35. Not doing my visiting teaching. (Oh, the guilt. It never goes away.)
36. Losing my coconut ring.
37. Spending my money on Sailor Moon cards instead of investing it.
38. Not flossing. (Again with the guilt.)
39. Saying "hecka" just because I was trying to sound cool.
40. Several super unflattering shirts.
41. Holding people to impossible standards and then being disappointed in them for not meeting them.
42. Being prideful and too quick to judge.
43. Giving up on calculus.
44. Not going to prom or all those senior things or more than a couple high school football games.
45. Not learning how to really do my hair or put on make up until college.
46. Living too much in my own head and ignoring the people around me.
47. Deciding to make this list 50 whole items long. I'm running out of things to say.
48. Driving up the canyon in that snowstorm.
49. Not following a few really specific promptings to help.
50. All those times I missed people and didn't tell them so.
Wow. I kept meaning to stop the list sooner, but then I'd think of more things. Apparently I have a lot of regrets. More than I thought I would, for sure.
I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. I mean, it's bad because there are some things I obviously wish I could change. But it's also good that I'm looking back on this stuff now so maybe I can try to fix it before it happens again.
One thing I know for sure: I will continue to make mistakes. I will do things I regret. But that doesn't mean I should stop living. In fact, I noticed that a lot of my items have more to do with what I didn't do than what I did.
So here's to living bigger, taking risks, and not being so afraid to fail that you don't even try.
I dare you to do it with me.