My friend, Maria, used to say that she was planning on having no regrets and would "never to be able to climb onstage with Frank Sinatra." She said this back when we were nineteen. I am pretty sure that if I asked her, today, that she, like the rest of us, would be able to name one or two things she would have done differently, if she had the chance.
However, as much as I like to complain about how tragic and sad my life is, I don't know that I have any big regrets, or at least, nothing that was within my power to have gone differently. yes, I look back and think I should have handled certain events in my past differently, but in order to have done that, I would need to know then what I know now and that wouldn't be possible.
A few weeks ago, I posted a video of the Doctor Who Children in Need 2007 special wherein Doctor Number 10 (David Tennant) encounters Doctor Number 5 (Peter Davison). It was sweet. Also, it mirrored a wish I have had that I could go back in time and tell my younger self that everything will work out, that I will be okay, that no matter how weak and hopeless I feel in the moment, I have the strength to get through it, that my future is not as bleak as I may have felt it to be.
Which brings me to New Order's song Regret.
It was released in the spring of 1993, when I was working on my thesis and looking with terror at the yawning abyss of the unknown that was the future. I remember sitting in my bedroom, at the computer, typing away. I remember how afraid I was at the prospect that I couldn't count on staying friends with anyone once I left, that I would no longer be a student, and that I would officially be an adult in every sense of the word.
So I listen to this song and it feels like a conversation between my 21 year old self and my 35 year old self across the fourteen year span (with a few comments by my older self to Fred, explaining the person I once was to them, though Fred actually knew me back then, so really, he doesn't need much clarification). And I can see that girl I once was an say "It will be all right, you may regret everything now, but someday, you won't. You may lose people along the way, but you will find others who mean more to you and you may renew some of these friendships which you are so sure you will lose. You'll be happy for every single moment, you will not want to change a thing."
Of course, the way we know it is a song and imaginary the fact that if this were some sort of time machine, there would have been a line which could be interpreted as "you had better stop mooning over these issues and work a little harder on that thesis, missy, because you will regret that spending all this time being depressed over a boy and over the future when you could have spent it researching and writing."