Thursday, March 24, 2011


Fascinating snippet from the NYT about regret.  According to a telephone survey conducted by Northwestern/UI,

"The most common regret involved romance, with nearly one in five respondents telling a story of a missed love connection. The second most common regret involved family issues, with 16 percent of respondents expressing regret about a family squabble or having been unkind to a sibling as a child. Other top regrets involved education (13 percent), career (12 percent), money issues (10 percent), parenting mistakes (9 percent) and health regrets (6 percent)."

I'm an equal opportunity regreter, so why limit myself?  I've got regrets in each category!  I even manage to have parenting regrets, despite never having actually been a parent.  Why didn't I have babies early?  Why didn't I wear more sunscreen?  Why didn't I find my "calling?"  What about the one who got away, and, um, the other ones who got away?  Why didn't I find a CD with A HIGHER INTEREST RATE?!

No, but seriously, I find this list to be a clear indication that we watch too many movies.  Romantic missed chances are the top regret?  What, exactly, do we think would have happened if we'd made the Love Connection?  Would we have sailed off into a credits sequence, limbs entwined, stupefied with bliss?  More likely we would simply be picking different socks up off the floor.

But maybe this is cynical of me.  Maybe our choices DO shape, radically, our lives.  I mean, if I'd gotten a better CD rate, I could have an extra $1,000 by now, and think what a material difference that could make if I loaned it out through Kiva?  Not to mention that skin cancer is a bona fide killer.

And what about that one who got away?  Ladies, he's not thinking about you: "Women were far more likely to have romantic regrets, with 44 percent fretting about a lost love, while just 19 percent of men still had relationship regrets."

I say we get ourselves some SPF 45.

P.S. I can't really let this post go by without mentioning my favorite novel about regret, Anne Tyler's Back When We Were Grownups.  Read it.  It's awesome.

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