I don’t know where this idea came from, but I did tweet a while back that “I think a lot about ways my life could be different and I’m not sure if that means I’m dissatisfied, I don’t think so but sometimes I just.” It also sort of hinges on the idea that the further I go in life and the more choices I make, the less flexibility my path has. (Although I daresay I can still be thoroughly surprised.) But basically, here are some things I feel like I’ve missed out on, with varying degrees of regret thereto.
Being a junior/senior in college
I distinctly remember Junior Year Feeling and Senior Year Feeling in high school. That was A Thing. But my junior year of college is a weirdly fluid thing. Was it my exchange year? Or was it the year just gone that is also the year before I graduate? I don’t know. And as such my senior year feels weird too, and now it just feels like I’ve been at ISU for-ev-er. So that feeling of being almost done? I guess it’s too early to say, but I think the feelings of four cut-and-dry years flew out the window long ago.
Do I regret this one? Noooooo. Study abroad > four cut-and-dry years. Study abroad = part of the hard work I’m so proud of.
Going to prom with a romantic date
I never went to prom with a romantic date. I didn’t date all that much in high school anyway, but my friends came through. Hannah was my date one year, Derek the next. I love them both very deeply and not romantically at all. We danced with each other and whomever, and I can’t thank Derek enough for putting up with my mopey ass.
Do I regret this one? Nope. But sometimes I do get sad about it. But then I look at Sam and laugh at myself for being sad.
“Going away” to university
I went to the same high school my dad (and three of his siblings) went to, and then I went to the same university my dad (and his sister, mother, and grandfather) went to. I literally did not attend an educational institution not also attended by some member of my family until I moved halfway across the world (and study abroad is a whole nother thing). Actually, I admire my sister, who started over in a totally new city at a university no one in the family had even really thought about very much until she decided she wanted to go there. I started story after story when I was in my late teens about girls packing up their whole lives in a car to go across the country to school somewhere completely new. And I never even came close to doing it. I was always going to go to school in Pocatello and I knew it. I’m not gonna come right out and say destined, but you know.
Do I regret this one? Not really, I guess. I like being where I am. I guess if I had done my life this way I wouldn’t regret it then either, but as it is, without ISU there is no Umeå and no Derek and no Photina and especially no Sam, and I love those people.
The college dating scene
I haven’t dated extensively in college either. I met Sam in the spring of my sophomore year and the rest is history. And I tell you what: I do not mind that at all. I see other people agonizing about it. Be it ‘ring by spring’ or the Tinder wringer people run through, or just miserable tweets about never getting treated right. Now, I did do some agonizing early on. But I didn’t really have the autonomy to Date™ in those early years, so I didn’t get myself into trouble with Tinder or such, and I am not even the tiniest bit sad about that. Healthy love is so much better.
Living with people I love
I have never had a roommate that I liked, and at this point in my life I probably never will. My freshman roommate moved out after one semester and the three girls I lived with sophomore year I barely spoke to all year long. I lived alone in Sweden, I live alone now, and the next time I have a roommate I’ll probably be married to him. I do get sad about this one sometimes. I’ve never been able to go down the hall and flop on my best friend’s bed to complain about still not being done with my homework, and I do in fact kind of wish that I had. But also – with whom? I didn’t make many friends who stuck before leaving for Sweden, and I daresay I’ll make a few more just in time to graduate next spring. I guess this one runs a bit deeper.