Things I’d have done differently in this life, by June Gardens

Hiiiiiiijune
Regrets, I have a few.

I am not one of those people who say, "I wish I would have worked less and had more fun." That's for effing sure. Can't look back on high school and say that. Or college, all seven years of it. Or during my "career." Nope.

Oh, but my second-biggest regret in life does have to do with college, and the one time I was responsible. See what that will do to you? (And just so I don't get 7,000 comments asking, my biggest regret in life is that I lost my senior yearbook. Because I know the signatures in there are hilarious. I know my friend David filled out a whole page, and I remember peeing my leg at the time, and I'm pretty sure I left it in this punk rock apartment in which I lived circa 1984 and heaven knows where it is now. If anyone sees an Arthur Hill High School 1983 yearbook with one whole really funny page written by someone named Dave, please leave me a comment. Thanks.)

My second-biggest regret was one night in college, right around this time of year. I lived in a big beautiful house with several women, a house we did not appreciate or clean or remotely even notice except for its ability to store lots of beer, and it had a fireplace both in the living room AND the den, a formal dining room and a breakfast nook, a balcony and a really cool bedroom (that was mine) that had a sitting room along with the bedroom. Again, hey, where should we put the extra 30-pack of Stroh's? No appreciation.

Anyway, we're sitting around, enjoying our cans of Stroh's, when Edie, my roommate who had a plastic nose (I will tell you on a different day, I promise) said, "Hey! Let's all get in D's 20-year-old rickety car and drive to Mardi Gras! If we leave now we can totally get there on time!"

"I'll do it!" said D, who was up for anything, at any time, and that is why I heart D to this day, because she is STILL exactly the same way despite being a grownup now.

"I have a quiz on Tuesday," I said.

A quiz.

A QUIZ.

That's what I said.

So everyone else piled into the car for an unforgettable (Well. I mean, there are big chunks they kind of CAN'T remember, but they have beads so they know it happened) week at Mardi Gras, and I know I must have told you guys this before, because now I am remembering people commenting saying, "Oh, you don't want to go there, it's loud and people barf" and yeah, I don't want to go there as a 44-year-old woman who no longer drinks, which I don't. I WANT TO GO THERE AS A 22-YEAR-OLD WHO DOES!

Crap.

35

Here's the next thing I'd have done differently. I'd have found a way to maintain my marathon-training body. Would it have been so hard to go run 15 or 20 miles each weekend? Okay, perhaps. But I looked so cute all the time. Believe it or not I was going to a funeral in this photo, which strikes me as a tad cheeky. Hi! Mary Englebright is sorry for your loss!

Goodjob And I would have kept this job. This was in Los Angeles. I proofread depositions. "But I thought depositions had to be verbatim" you may be saying, which is what everybody said to me every time I said that's what I did for a living. Yes, that's true. But if the court reporter writes the wrong "there," which is easy to do because she's typing like 600 words a minute, that ain't good.

This place paid me a crapload of money, including paying me for my commute, because I lived on the opposite side of town. I set my own hours, and got to leave when there was no work, and also too there was often cocktail hour at the end of the day, which included really good wines, and until that time I had no idea where was a difference between $2 wine from Trader Joe's and, you know, good wine.

The getting-to-leave-if-there-was-no-work thing but working-till-the-work-was-done rocked. One time I left at 10:30 a.m. and shopped all day. See those shoes? I know you can barely see them. Prada. Or maybe Kate Spade. I know there's a big difference. But for me right now there is no difference because all my shoes now are Target.

I quit that job in a huff over something relatively minor. Sound familiar? I guess not, because I didn't tell you why I quit THIS last job. Anyway, this job up here was a cool job, and the part where I got to work as much or as little as I wanted often resulted in me staying until 8 or 9 at night. Turns out when it's up to me I get kind of responsible. Hmph.

Whatbra

I would have worn a better support garment when I was bridesmaid at Paula's wedding. When I was bridesmaid and I HAD TO GIVE THE SPEECH, not divine water. And that's Paula's bridey head at the bottom of the photo, not an ovarian cyst.

Finally, I'd halve all the time I spent mourning over the loss of my 39495830305.5 relationships. I wasted way too many hours being sad that I broke up with people. Way too much time calling their houses and hanging up when they answered. (How do you people break up now that there's caller ID?) Way too much time listening to Sinead O'Connor. Way too much time lying in bed with tears falling in my ears. Because eventually I got over everyone, so why couldn't I have gotten over everyone, I don't know, sooner?

Do you have any regrets? I mean, other than reading this blog?

87 thoughts on “Things I’d have done differently in this life, by June Gardens

  1. Since d lou channeled Sinatra and MY Way, I thought this erudite community might find it interesting that a bunch of folks have been killed in the Phillipines whilst warbling “My Way” in a karoke bar. Check out:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/07/world/asia/07karaoke.html?scp=1&sq=My%20Way%20murders&st=cse
    Regrets, I have a few: that curly perm in the 80s, marrying wife number two, not finishing my Ph.D. in psychology. But you know, if I hadn’t married number 2, I would probably not have discovered number 3, and be able to say I finally married a woman who likes me. I was almost ready to pledge the Lewis Grizzard doctrine: Next time I am just going to find a woman who hates me and buy her a house and leave out all the carp in between. God, I miss me some Lewis Grizzard. And I sure love the Furry Godmother.

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  2. Oh June, I so know what you mean about the yearbooks. Years ago someone asked to borrow my freshman and sophomore yearbooks and I never got them back. Same thing with my JV and Varsity cheerleading uniforms. I loaned them to a couple of guys for Halloween and never got them back either.
    I don’t loan things out any more.
    I’ve done some incredibly crazy/stupid “what the hell was I thinking??” things in my life but I really don’t regret them.
    Wait. I lied.
    I regret not learning how to play the piano.
    And I regret not going to college.
    I regret cutting myself off from my closest friends right after high school because the guy I was with was so insecure and jealous that it wasn’t worth the accusations and threats and how does one break up with a man who has a terminal illness?
    27 years later I still feel guilty at the incredible relief I felt when he died and I was finally free.
    And I kind of regret being too “casual” with my affections in my ’20’s.
    Oh, and I regret no longer having the body I did in my 20’s.

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  3. Oh June, I so know what you mean about the yearbooks. Years ago someone asked to borrow my freshman and sophomore yearbooks and I never got them back. Same thing with my JV and Varsity cheerleading uniforms. I loaned them to a couple of guys for Halloween and never got them back either.
    I don’t loan things out any more.
    I’ve done some incredibly crazy/stupid “what the hell was I thinking??” things in my life but I really don’t regret them.
    Wait. I lied.
    I regret not learning how to play the piano.
    And I regret not going to college.
    I regret cutting myself off from my closest friends right after high school because the guy I was with was so insecure and jealous that it wasn’t worth the accusations and threats and how does one break up with a man who has a terminal illness?
    27 years later I still feel guilty at the incredible relief I felt when he died and I was finally free.
    And I kind of regret being too “casual” with my affections in my ’20’s.
    Oh, and I regret no longer having the body I did in my 20’s.

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  4. Oh June, I so know what you mean about the yearbooks. Years ago someone asked to borrow my freshman and sophomore yearbooks and I never got them back. Same thing with my JV and Varsity cheerleading uniforms. I loaned them to a couple of guys for Halloween and never got them back either.
    I don’t loan things out any more.
    I’ve done some incredibly crazy/stupid “what the hell was I thinking??” things in my life but I really don’t regret them.
    Wait. I lied.
    I regret not learning how to play the piano.
    And I regret not going to college.
    I regret cutting myself off from my closest friends right after high school because the guy I was with was so insecure and jealous that it wasn’t worth the accusations and threats and how does one break up with a man who has a terminal illness?
    27 years later I still feel guilty at the incredible relief I felt when he died and I was finally free.
    And I kind of regret being too “casual” with my affections in my ’20’s.
    Oh, and I regret no longer having the body I did in my 20’s.

    Like

  5. Most of the things I am inclined to say that I regret would have required me to be a completely different person to have done differently (like had more fun in high school and college, had more dates at pretty much any point of my life, genuinely trying to pursue a writing career). Realistically none of those things could have happened with me being the me that I am.
    I do have one big regret that would only have required me not to be such an idiot rather than be a whole different person. I should never have rushed into the relationship/disaster that I am currently stuck in. I’m smart enough not to ignore red flags, but I did it anyway. Boy howdy I regret that.

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  6. I regret the times I was sick and frustrated and said some very mean things to a couple of very nice people and never did apologize. And all those times in my teens and twenties that I thought I was worthless and chose the very wrong men – way too many times…
    I do NOT regret being in Detroit in my 20’s and picking up a few cases of Strohs FIRE BREWED beer and sneaking them into California.
    Love the cherry purse! I just bought some oil cloth that looks exactly like that print and am making tote bags.

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  7. OMG you TOTALLY look like Hayley Mills! I mean, not just in that photo even. In general. I totally see it.
    I don’t know that I really have any big regrets. I mean, I regret staying with my college boyfriend as long as I did, and not standing up to him more when he was being domineering and emotionally abusive, but if I’d broken up with him sooner I may not be with my husband now, so I don’t REALLY regret it. Just like I don’t REALLY regret the lying, cheating asshat I dated between him and my husband, because without that guy, I’d probably never have met my husband.
    I guess the only real, REAL regret I have is not taking education courses in college. Cuz then I’d probably be a teacher now, instead of a receptionist at a company I hate working for because no one will hire me as a teacher because I have no teaching experience, even though I’m licensed by the state. Sigh.

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  8. I regret what I screamed to my son when he came home from college and told me he was going to be a father…”haven’t you ever heard of rubbers?”.
    Geez – I thought the world was ending…turns out it was the best thing that ever happened to us. So five years later when my grandson queried how his mom and dad had him if they weren’t married I did better. I told him sometimes you just get lucky.

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  9. Last to the party… Regrets, I’ve had a few… but I am too tired to type them out and too emotional to relive them right now.
    Furry! Hugs. Love to you and I am so happy you have gotten your happily ever after.
    Sadly, today I am dealing with lots of regret. Not mine. My mom is in the hospital and I won’t go into all of it… there is lots of really bad juju going on. Sadly, she is responsible for her own situation. And she has realized it. She has lots of regret, remorse and guilt but she can’t change anything now. It is very sad to watch.
    OK… I have hit the wall and need to go nigh nigh.

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  10. Wow, a million regrets! But I do regret not going to see The Who in Detroit in 75 or 76 – I had a boyfriend begging me to go but parents who did not want me seeing him. I was living with my grandparents for my freshman year of college (another regret) so no sneaking around. And I had to work nearly full-time and I was scheduled to work on the night of the concert. I have kicked myself many times for missing it, including while watching them perform at the Super Bowl!

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  11. Regrets? Every guy I knew named Todd, save one. Whatever I smoked before the Sigmund Snopek concert in 1979 (to which decent Todd accompanied me, sober), which made me numb and paranoid that I was peeing my pants. Other than that, not too much.

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  12. I believe life is like a long path, sometimes we go off track, and sometimes we walk into the right direction.
    Every day our lives change, depending on the smallest choices we make, whether we decide to turn left, or right.
    Nevertheless, besides being philosophical, I have few regrets, as I’ve always been ‘the good girl’, and no I’m not referring to Jennifer Aniston’s movie.
    Regret one: I was too nice to quit my first job at seventeen, so instead my mom went in with my shirt and quit for me. It was a birthday card store, and I hated the fact just because I was a neat freak, that EVERY DAY the manager assigned me to vacuuming, when I asked why, she said: ‘you’ve definitely got the skill’, then I envisioned a life of vacuuming stores, and went home ranting to my mother, who in turn was furious, why? Because then she couldn’t ask me to vacuum at home too. But over time, I’ve gotten over it.
    Regret two: In 8th grade, my friends were all absent on one particular day, I was always the friendly type who knew EVERYONE, still am. The POPULAR girl asked me to sit next to her; it was mundane hearing about how wonderful she was or the whole duration of class. Afterwards she asked “So what do you think of me?” I said, “You’re a bitch”. Ooops, let’s just say dodge ball in gym class for the rest of the year was not so fun. But once in college many years later, we hugged and made up.
    Regret three: Not seeing my Nanna before she died. I moved to the US, and although I wasn’t there for her final days. But the reason I hardly kept in touch was because she was a stubborn old woman, and so I didn’t keep contact, never said sorry! But, at least I remember her as her old self, not sick, as the rest of my family had.
    Regret four: Is that I loved and cared for my ex boyfriend as much as I did, I made excuses to myself for being ignored. He was there, but not THERE. He later cheated on me, with the print shop girl at his work. He even moved her into our townhome while I visited family over summer. She parked in my spot, used my dishes all the while I was paying for half the expenses. But, I’ve learned that I deserve better, I deserve cream, not sour milk baby!
    So, although I’ve regretted things in my good ole twenty-three years, I have overcome and resolved all of them, which has helped me walk back into the right direction.

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