Non, je ne regrette rien.
When I was pregnant with Zuzu, I had one of those life crisis epiphanies that happens when you are pregnant with your third baby and you’re trying to remember what exactly it was you wanted to do with your life again (start a commune? what? manage a small independent bookstore? when?). This particular life crisis epiphany made me realize there are three lifey things I regret about my 20s, three things I wish I’d done.
I wish I’d been more athletic. I came to exercise slowly, and my attitude about it in my 20s was mostly laissez-faire with the occasional run for the heck of it, an attitude that sums up my life in general then, but that also was maybe more appropriate during a time of boxy sweaters and palazzo pants. At any rate, I wish I’d exercised more in earnest, and gotten really muscly just because I could. (Note that this is a frustrating realization to have when you’re 7 months pregannt, rapidly waxing instead of waning, and having awesome biceps really isn’t on that month’s agenda.)
I wish I’d been smarter about money. For most of my life, on a Money Smarts Scale from 1 to 10, I was maybe a 2 (if 10 is super smart thrifty saver person). I spent whatever money I had and never gave a thought to saving a cent. I wish I’d been more frugal, and realized that it’s actually really cool to save money. You know, there’s still this New Jersey girl inside me who grew up in Mall Land and feels great pleasure from walking through the door with new items stuffed in plastic shopping bags. To a certain extent, I justify shopping by buying used at Goodwill and on eBay, and in one sense that’s ok. Except when it’s not. I could have really used a budget when I was 23. And I still don’t really have one now.
The third thing I wish I’d done in my 20s is to write every day. I wanted to write but I thought you had to sit around and wait to be struck by divine inspiration. I thought that I would write a page of fiction, one time, and it would be perfect and fabulous and I could then email it to family and friends to show them my wonderful writing (oh my gracious this is horrrifying to think of now). If only someone had made me read Bird by Bird.
After the Pregnant Epiphany, I actually did write every day, working on a book, until we were all smacked backwards by the flu and all we could do was lie on the rug wishing someone would bring us oranges. It was five days of not being vertical (during which time we somehow managed to buy a car), and after, with one month to go before my due date, I couldn’t get back into the write-every-day habit.
But I never forgot about the Pregnant Epiphany, and recently I’ve started to realize, you know, that this is my life, and so maybe it’s time to start living it. I might exercise more than I did, and I’m slightly better with money, and I write more often, but none of these things is particularly stellar, you know? I’ll be 40 in a year and a half, and then these will just become things I wish I’d done in my 30s.
At the same time I wrote the daily schedule, I made a daily checklist for myself, which in the spirit of living methodically, I’ll tell you about in a methodical manner, tomorrow. Stay tuned.