With a college friend back in town, we took a trip to the place we met. We roamed the hallways, the library, the gym. It all came flooding back to us: memories of our early adulthood. The looks of some things changed (very few, but a few), but the smells all remained the same. I smelled leaving class early in the hallway. I smelled flirting in the common lounge. I smelled ambition in the old gym equipment.
We laughed over the memories we had there, and mourned our former selves. I’m not sure if it was the person I was then, or the loss of my innocence that I mourned. I remembered when every sin was to a lesser degree: sex was making out, drugs was drinking, assault was insults. I was more pure–not of heart, but of mind. I was still optimistic and hopeful. I wasn’t yet hardened by the world. No one had broken my heart or my spirit. I hadn’t let anyone yet.
On Glee, Emma says, “At what age are you able to look back on your life with nothing but regret? Is 30 too young?” I know people say they have no regrets in life, because every decision they’ve made has made them who they are today. But I do have some regrets, because I know I could be someone better than who I am today. I regret sleeping with certain people. I regret not chasing a career I’m passionate about. I regret my ambition slipping and letting my writing just sit on the shelf as an empty dream.
Also on Glee, Holly says, “there are ramifications (for your actions) because it makes you comfortable with insensitivity.” The person I was back in my first couple years of college was in no ways perfect, but she also wasn’t yet comfortable with insensitivity.
We left our old school, feeling old and empty. Because we knew that once you lost that innocence, you can never get it back. But although you can’t reclaim your innocence, you can always become a better person. And maybe my regrets are the best way to tell me how to do that.