“Man, I’ve always wanted to play a sport,” a South senior sighs as she walks away from the Winter Sports assembly. “I feel like that’d be a lot more fun than what I’m doing now.”
A couple weeks ago, I heard this comment from one of my classmates, someone who has, for the past four years, invested themselves fully into the performing arts. Yet now, during our senior year, regret starts to flow over her.
Especially for seniors, it is easy to start to feel regretful of missed opportunities during high school and think, “I should have done that” or “I shouldn’t have done this.”
The reality of it all is that we can’t go back and do things we wished we would have done. It’s impossible. Instead, we should strive to live in the moment and fully appreciate this life we have chosen.
But this simple task can become mountainous when the weight of regret keeps you stuck in the past. However, while you may regret not doing some things, other people that did do those things may feel the same kind of regret. It’s sort of a “grass is always greener on the other side” kind of paradox.
Take the dilemma of celebrities for example. Many of them often come out and say they wish they could live a normal life. Even though as kids they probably dreamed of being famous, they now simply wish they weren’t.
In Kanye West’s album, 808s and Heartbreak, he includes a freestyle track he performed live. In this track, titled “Pinocchio Story,” he details his desire to just be a “real boy” instead of living under all the flashing lights.
Even though it’s every young artist’s dream to get a big break and have their voice heard, when they finally get there, they often realize it’s not all that they thought it would be. So someone living as a normal, not famous, person, may feel a lack of excitement in their life. Then someone living as a famous, not normal, person may feel a lack of order in their life.
Each one wants to be the other, but neither one can really understand that until they get to the other side.
This same idea applies to many areas in our lives. Specifically, at the end of your four years in high school, you may say, “Man, I wish I did (fill in the blank) instead of (fill in the blank).” However, if you switched perspectives to the other side, the blanks very well may be reversed. A trombone player may regret never being in a sport, while a football player may regret never playing an instrument. The grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side.
It is simply a part of our curious nature. We always want to know what the other side is like, and wonder what our lives would be like if we took a different path. But the simple fact is, we can’t. We cannot live these alternative lives and experience everything; we can only live the life we have already chosen.
We should choose to make this life the best we can, and let go of aimless regret. We only get one chance at high school and one chance at life, so let’s live in the moment and savor everything it has to offer.