… What a giant fail on my part, haha. Need to plan better next time. I picked the wrong story to write. Oy.
… What a giant fail on my part, haha. Need to plan better next time. I picked the wrong story to write. Oy.
I still like to lurk around on the Post Secret Community forum for short bursts of entertainment as well as to read the occasional intellectually stimulating debate. There’s a thread I’ve been marginally keeping up with called “rewind yourself to 14, [sic] what would you have done differently?”. Whenever anything resembling this topic comes up, there’s always one camp that comprises people who wouldn’t have changed anything, anyone, ever, ever, ever because then their lives wouldn’t be so fraught with awesomeness. “All the decisions I’ve made have led me to where I am today, so I wouldn’t change a thing.” Yes. Very good! So very astute. Except when it’s not true. The problem is, nobody can know for sure how your life would’ve changed if you’d done or hadn’t done this or that—or if it would’ve changed at all. If the latter is the case, what’s the harm in wishing you’d acted differently? One more moment of pleasure in your life?
One of my pet peeves is when people say they don’t regret anything. Just TYPING that makes me want to shove a pair of scissors down my throat (and I would most certainly regret that). Maybe I regard the word “regret” differently than other people, because while I don’t think it’s healthy or effective to dwell on things that can’t be changed, I see nothing shameful or time-wasting in looking back and acknowledging that past actions were ill-played or insufficient at certain moments in your life. It’s how we learn not to do (or in my case, say) certain things again.
I think the whole meaning behind the “I regret nothing, lol!” movement is that good things can arise from bad circumstances, and I get that. I totally do, but it’s a little too “God’s planny” for me to accept and live by. I appreciate the presence of suffering in this world, and believe that character is born through hardship. Maybe the people who say they’d never change anything haven’t really experienced true hardship or any kind of struggle, for which they can’t be blamed. Ask a recovering drug addict if he regrets anything, and he probably won’t be spewing rainbows about how meth holds the key to who he is today. Sure, it’s possible that he wouldn’t have the strength he has today had it not been for his weekend benders and needle-swapping. But isn’t it equally possible that he would’ve acquired that strength in other ways, whether it be through merely a different poison, i.e. alcoholism, or through more positive means?
The point is, we can’t know for sure. It also depends on what your beliefs are in terms of fate. If you’re one who believes in fate, then anything you’re meant to become is going to happen anyway, no matter what you do. So what’s the harm in regretting the path to that destiny? If there’s only one way you’re going to turn out, what difference does it make if you got in a car accident to get there or served in the Peace Corps to get there? None, so really, it’s those people who I feel sorry for—believing their fate is sealed and that they had to get there through terrible pain when anything else would have gotten the job done.
So let’s look at it on a smaller scale—the age of 14 wasn’t a particularly life-changing age for me, so anything I would’ve done differently wouldn’t fundamentally change who I am. Or would it? Dun, dun, dun! Without further ado, my edits to my 14-year-old self:
- I would have worn the shit out of my retainer like I was supposed to. (But wait, that would’ve changed my entire life because I’d still have a straight smile!)
- I wouldn’t have gotten so discouraged at volleyball camp, and might have continued to play on the high school team. (But wait, I might have had a different social life freshman and sophomore year, and different friends! Oh my god!)
- I would’ve been more confident and less timid. (But wait! Then I’d be a glowing orb of confidence now! The horror!)
- I would’ve been more involved in extracurriculars. (But wait! Then I might have developed more well-rounded interests and have a broader skill set than I do now! Please, don’t go any further, Sydney! I can’t take all these terrible could’ve-beens!)
That’s all I can think of for my own actions in 14; there are no events I’d like to change, since none were particularly painful or negative then. Either way, there’s no way of knowing for sure what could have been when it comes to the big, meaningful events in our lives, but we can all have some idea. Even if things would’ve indeed turned out differently, we wouldn’t be aware of it anyway! I’m very happy with the way my life has turned out (with the exception of being jobless) and with who I am today, but occasionally I think about things I could’ve and should’ve done when I had certain opportunities. No shame in that.
Raising my future child to be bilingual (or at some point, multilingual) is something I’ve dreamt about for a while now. My ideas as to how to incorporate her second first language have included:
1. Hiring a nanny-like speaker of the target language to speak to the child exclusively in the target language.
2. Sending the kid to an immersion school.
3. Brushing up on my own language skills and being her source of the target language.
Until recently, options 1 and 2 seemed the most viable. But there are disadvantages to both. With option 1, it would be difficult to find someone who speaks a language other than Spanish to come provide linguistic input to my kid. I’d love for the child to speak Spanish, but it’s such an accessible language these days that I’d like an additional language to be an option. And unless I end up as some powerful femme fatale CEO, it’s not likely I’ll need a nanny when I have kids. Basically, I’d be hiring someone to come sit with my kid and talk to her, that’s it. I’d also prefer my future child to be in a bilingual home from birth, which pretty much rules out immersion school as a sole source of bilingualism. It’s definitely a great resource for reinforcing an already acquired language or adding on another (Spanish, anyone?), though.
According to several articles on a Web site called Multilingual Living, it is totally acceptable for a parent to speak a non-native language to his or her children in order to raise them bilingually. As long as they receive sources of input in addition to the parent’s, they can potentially acquire the language, even going so far as to correct the parent’s pronunciation when they’re proficient enough! Of course, it is important that the parent feel comfortable using the non-native language, and it’s certainly more challenging. But reading that gave me hope that if I retain my Italian language, I can help my future child become bilingual/multilingual. Even if she never becomes fluent, some language exposure is better than none.
Write on! This will be my first year participating in National Novel Writing Month, and while I’ve registered, I’ve yet to decide what I’ll be writing about. It’s been determined that my story will be fictional, and that’s about it. Progress!
I guess this is how it’s supposed to go, though. You show up November 1st and just start writing, with the end result being qualitatively nebulous.
It occurred to me last night that a rewrite of a story I wrote in high school is much needed, and I considered tackling that project for the novelthon—that is, before I had a gander at the official rules. No previously written work is allowed, and for good reason:
You’ll care about the characters and story too much to write with the gleeful, anything-goes approach that makes NaNoWriMo such a creative rush.
Well played, Nanowrimo. Well played.
In any case, what I hope to get out of this experiment is a reboot in my writing. I used to enjoy writing fiction (short stories only—don’t have the patience or attention span for a novel. Lolnanowrimo.) and was pretty decent at it. What I desire by the end of November is not a finished, publishable product, but a kick that will set a passion for writing back into motion. Maybe after it’s all over, I’ll have the confidence to rewrite that story that’s been gathering dust.
I’ve been keeping myself busy all day, waiting for J. to get home. It’s been almost a month since I moved to Silver Spring, and I guess a truly adventurous spirit would have the whole city sprinkled with her whimsical footprints by now. That’s not to say I haven’t gone out, but how much does walking to Whole Foods and Borders count? What I’ve really been concerned with is the apartment and domesticating the ever-loving crap out of it — and I haven’t even started decorating yet. Hell, I still have boxes filled with things that need to go places that don’t really exist right now. *runs off to count remaining boxes* Make that eight boxes, varied in size, but mostly small.
That part’s been fun, but what’s been the absolute best has been living with my dear boyfriend. After a three-year long-distance relationship, we’ve been thoroughly adoring each other and incessantly causing any flies on the wall to vomit. It’s awesome. We’re still in the early stages of cohabitation, where one’s habits affect the other’s in novel ways, but it hasn’t been as bad as what I’ve heard (famous last words?) about couples first living together.
We’ve had a few spats, but those have largely concerned my tendency to become stressed out when it comes to money and my current absence of job. Any mood swings of mine that he’s had to deal with on rare occasions has been magnified due to our new proximity, so it’s probably been hard for him to adjust to. It’s hard for me, too — without the buffer of hundreds of miles and phone calls to hide behind, I have to relearn how to deal with my emotions while living with someone who is unavoidably affected by them. I take it as a good thing that he’s sensitive enough to detect when I’m upset or bothered by something.
Other than those few spats, it’s been great. I have no qualms about telling him what I need from him so that we can both maintain a harmonious environment, and he has no problem telling me what he needs from me. I’m not afraid of hurting his feelings, because the things I ask for are things that he, as a more rational being than I, deems no big deal. I ask him to help me with dishes, and on my part, I keep the bathroom uncluttered. The transition from living by myself to moving in with someone has been less harrowing than I’d thought it would be. All it takes is consideration, and a bit of objectivity. Looking around the apartment — correction: our apartment — one gleans a sense of two people living here, not just a guy and a girl. Not flowery, and not John Deere (not that my guy is that kind of fella), either. While in the bedroom, you can definitely tell which side of the bed is mine, there’s nothing ostentatiously feminine about it. I try to maintain this throughout the entire unit. We want our home to reflect the two people living here, not a tug-of-war between the sexes.
So far, it’s been wonderful. Now I can go back to waiting. Oh! I’ll play L4D. Maybe give “Last Man on Earth” another go?