Regret. Ugh. Not only a word but a terrible feeling. One that creeps up in the back of your mind from time to time. Or in my case, things I think about often. Questions I ask myself, like what I’d do differently knowing what I know now. But, would I go back and change things for the better if I could? Going back in time to change one small thing could result in changing much larger things, ultimately changing the person I am right here, right now. Would I want to risk altering the person I am in this moment? Would you?
I have two major regrets in my life. My first biggest regret is something I may reveal in the third and final novel to my series, The Pace of Nature. My second biggest regret has to do with me never be able to exercise in a form of running again. And boy, do I long to throw my running shoes on and sprint across the gravel through the windy streets of my townhouse complex. Running used to be my liberation. It meant so much more than not having to pay for a gym membership. It meant, being able to throw my sneakers on after a stressful, frustrating day, and jet right out my front door, knowing that twenty minutes later, I’d re-enter my house in a happier, more fun-spirited mood.
But thanks to a year-in-a-half of CrossFit, where I’d been pressured to squat 140 pounds of weight on a weekly basis, perform excessive box jumps, jump rope against a cement ground, and so much more crap that was horrible on my knees – all of that mixed with 17-years of soccer, along with high-school years of lacrosse and ice hockey, years of extreme wear and tear on my knees because the truth of the matter is, I was a beast on the field and ice. Yes, all 5 foot 2 of me. I was fast on my skates and nasty-quick with a soccer ball between my feet, and if some bigger bitch knocked me down, I’d jump right up and catch back up to her, soccer ball imprints on my thighs and grass stains on my elbows, I’d have the ball back between my feet in seconds. I was fearless and relentless. And unfortunately, I had the same smart-ass competitive attitude when I’d joined a CrossFit box.
Being in CrossFit, felt like I was back on a sports team again. Accept, I didn’t listen to my body when it screamed for me to slow down, to stop squatting unnecessary weight. Not being able to run is my own damn fault and I know it. CrossFit aged my knees by thirty years, and now I can never run again. Doctor’s orders. Even when I defy my doctor and do try to go for a run – I try at least once a year – and every year, I never make it more than ten minutes, returning back to my house with knees the size of grapefruits, where I then have to ice them back to a normal range, where it hurts to walk up and down stairs for the next two weeks.
At least I can still ride my bike. And, I can rollerblade with my dog, Charlie. See the picture of Charlie below! #bestpup #proudmom
Okay, back to Regret.
The reason I brought the topic of regret up is because I just finished Regretting You by Colleen Hoover. A story about love and betrayal. I won’t give any spoilers away, but I’ll tell you a little about it, mainly because Clara, one of the main characters, and narrators of Regretting You, reminds me of Lilly, the main character in my novel series, The Pace of Nature. Clara and Lilly have both experienced loss. Clara loses a family member, and Lilly loses life as she knows it at the age of seven – things lost that will shape the rest of their lives in ways neither Lilly or Clara saw coming.
Clara turns seventeen in Regretting You, and throughout the first novel of TPON, Lilly grows from seven to fifteen, and winds-up getting sent away to an institution, mainly because her and her mother don’t get along, amongst a bunch of other reasons. Lilly is younger than Clara, and a bit wiser and aware of life and its cruelties, whereas Clara has had an easy stroll of things up until she loses someone she loves at the age of sixteen. But the one similarity that Lilly and Clara have in common is they both have a hatred towards their mothers.
One day, when TPON gets picked up for publication and you’re finally able to read my novel, there will be times where you think Lilly is making regrettable mistakes. And she does. Mistakes that wind-up taking her away from her family for three-in-a-half years. Mistakes that’s she forced to face and live with, in order to learn how to survive in unfortunate circumstances, because doing so means that one day, she might be able to live back home with her family again.
In Regretting You, Clara not only loses someone close to her, she later learns that her family wasn’t as perfect as she thought they’d been. She loses respect for her mother and then begins to enact a plan for revenge. She acts out in similar ways that gets Lilly sent away: breaking curfew, sneaking out of the house, skipping school, drinking and smoking, and blatantly breaking all the rules. There are times in both stories where Lilly and Clara feel as if they are pushed up against a corner, unable to move and process much outside their own feelings and emotions. Therefore, they begin to take their anger out on their mothers.
That’s all I’ll reveal about Regretting You. But I promise, even though parts of the story feel a bit cheesy at times, the themes within will pull at your heart strings and allow you to relate to the different layers packed within the storyline in one way or another. And unlike The Pace of Nature, which is currently a two-novel series that charts Lilly’s steep climb in reclaiming herself, Regretting You wraps things up pretty quickly in one novel.
It takes time to understand the reasons why your parents make certain decisions. Sometimes these decisions can affect you for the rest of your life, and there may be times where you find yourself wrapped up in anger and resentment all over again. Then once again, you have to remind yourself of the reasons you let go and forgave in the first place. But back to my original question: Would you change your past if you could?
No. I wouldn’t change a thing if it meant jeopardizing one of the great things I have in my life in this moment. And yes, that includes not going back and altering my two biggest regrets.
I do though, wonder about the regrets our parents carry in their own hearts. How do they live with, and/or justify their own mistakes? One thing is certain, and both Lilly and Clara have come to turns with this in their teens, and that is, parents and children, we are all human beings who have to figure things out for ourselves, sometimes the hard way, in order to fulfil our lives and the lives of others.
I leave you with this quote from Regretting You.
“I used to collect snow globes when I was younger. They lined a shelf in my bedroom, and sometimes I would shake them up, one after the other, then sit on my bed and watch as the flurries and the glitter swirled around inside the glass. Eventually, the contents inside the globe would begin to settle. All would grow still, and then the globes on my shelf would return to their quiet, peaceful states. I liked them because they reminded me of life. How sometimes, it feels like someone is shaking the world around you, and things are flying at you from every direction, but if you wait long enough, everything will start to calm.”Colleen Hoover