Throughout my life, although I’ve more or less been happy, I have always lived with regrets. Almost all of these have been rooted in fear. Fear that stepping out of my comfort zone will end catastrophically. Almost none of my regrets are things that I actually did do. Never things like “I wish I hadn’t gone to that party”, but always things like “I wish I had gone on that roller coaster” or “I wish I had talked more in class”.
For example, when my family went to Florida over the Summer, we decided to go on a gigantic roller coaster. Although there seemed to be kids considerably younger than me in line, it did nothing to subside my fear of the humongous drop, especially since I had never gone on an actual roller coaster before. At multiple points I considered stepping out of line, but I told myself that I would regret it if I didn’t go on the ride, considering I had no clue when I would possibly be in Florida again. Even though I eventually decided to go on the ride, if this had happened only a few years earlier, I may have stepped out of line.
When I was younger, I would almost never face my fears, and because of this, I ended up regretting almost everything. My happiness even started getting pushed to the side because of these numerous regrets. This mainly began in sixth grade, when we were assigned seats alphabetically. Most of the girls in the class ended up in a cluster towards the front, while I was sat in the back with most of the boys. For some reason, I decided against talking with the people sitting around me, thinking that I would talk if I was put near the other girls in the class. Even when this did happen, I still didn’t talk much. I eventually became trapped in a cycle of near silence, which lasted through most of sixth and seventh grade.
Even though I told myself that I was happy being quiet, I honestly wasn’t. When I did talk, I was constantly afraid of saying the wrong thing or of people hating me for one reason or another, but when I didn’t talk, I always regretted it.
Being unhappy with myself made me realize that I shouldn’t be so scared about what other people think, and that I should just live. I decided that even if facing my fears ended terribly, I would be able to get over it. At the very least, I would be able to be proud of myself for facing a fear. Whereas if I decided against facing the fear, I would end up regretting not attempting to conquer it. As I began to follow this logic, I started living more, and regretting less.
This improved mindset subsequently allowed me to break out of my shell, causing me to become happier and more confident with myself. I eventually began letting myself work towards conquering bigger fears, such as going on the roller coaster in Florida. Thinking back on this, I do not regret braving it. Although I was terrified the moment before the drop, the fall felt blissfully happy, and any level of regret if I had not gone on the ride would have been immensely bigger.
Even though I didn’t always step out of my comfort zone and face my fears, years of regretting too much taught me a belief that I hold to this today. It’s that I shouldn’t let fear to force me to live with regrets.