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The Lesson of Regret

By Helen Yudo, Grade 12
There is no one on earth who can say they have never said or done something cringe-worthy or regrettable. If you know someone like that, just know that they are definitely lying. Everyone has a moment in their life that they wish they could redo.

I have numerous examples of this. Once, at a birthday party (not my own), I fell on my head at a slip-and-slide in front of everyone. You know what the worst thing was? I did it on purpose! “Why?” you may ask, because I, the annoying seven-year-old that I was, wanted attention, and I thought that was the best way to get it. I honestly don’t know whether I got a concussion, but I do know that I do not remember much of the rest of the party (which may also be due to the fact that it was ten years ago…). I regret doing that because it was just a super weird thing to do. I’m pretty sure everyone thought I was crazy.

Let me give a more recent example of something that I regret. About two years ago, in front of the whole school during assembly, I practically called my older sister a joke. While people laughed, I felt pretty bad because I knew I caused my sister undue embarrassment and shame that she definitely did not deserve. She is the smartest, I kid you not, and one of the most caring people I know. Now, she has long since forgiven me, but I wish I could take that moment back. Unfortunately, I can’t.

And now, my most recent regret is not giving Stanstead my all for the past few years. I feel like I really withheld a better part of myself and didn’t fully take advantage of everything it had to offer. I wish I could go back and do more lip syncs and Café Capps, more weekend activities, but I can’t. I really took it all for granted, and fell into the traps of incessant complaining about things that I knew really weren’t even bad in the first place. Now, look where I am—at home, away from everyone. It will never be the same. They say you never know what you have until you lose it. Well, look at me and the rest of the Grade 12s. We are the living embodiment of that.

What I’ve realized is that there is one common theme linking all my regrets together: insecurity—not feeling comfortable with who I am and wanting to embody a persona that I know is not me, doing things that on a regular day and in a regular mindset I probably would never do.

However, one positive thing about regrets is that they allow you to look back at your life and see issues that definitely need fixing. I need to work on my numerous insecurities, and I’m sure all of you have different issues you need to work out as well. So, use this time at home, around people that you are hopefully comfortable with, and work on yourselves. It won’t be easy, trust me, but your future self will thank you for it.

I hope you enjoyed my embarrassing anecdotes, and remember to keep safe and practice social distancing! I hope to see you all soon.