Words & Banter

RED & BLACK … Don’t Regret Your Regrets?

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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I can't believe it's been a year since they canceled last year's Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which means that it's been a year since COVID-19 has seemingly taken over our lives. It's almost hard to remember what life used to be like.


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I am not even sure we know how the "new norm" will look. And, believe it or not, I can still remember the dilemma you faced in terms of Sawyer and the Houston Rodeo. But, the fact you used me as your sounding board, for what I remember as countless hours, may explain it.


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The mom in me just wanted to lock her in the house until we knew more about COVID-19. But I also knew the carnival and concerts at the Houston Rodeo are far and away one of the highlights not only of Spring Break, but her entire year.


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Well, the fact they canceled it after the first week made your life – and mine – much easier. So, looking back, do you think you would have stopped her from going?


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Hello? You still there?


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Yes. I'm thinking about how to answer that. Part of me wants to believe that I'd have exercised my parental right to use "tough love" … but honestly, I really don't know. But what I do know is that looking back, I'd do things differently.


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Really? I know you were borderline fanatical about cleaning your groceries for a long time, but many people were. And although Mom, who says she understands, will probably never forgive you for only seeing her "through a window" for almost a year now, even though it is for her own safety.


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No, I meant further back in time. This past year has had me thinking about all the things I didn't do over the years. And how I always took for granted that I'd be able to do them. Then, overnight, I couldn't.


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It is funny you mention that, as various business publications are predicting a boom in travel once things start to open safely. In fact, some Christmas 2021 cruises are already sold out.


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Cruises aren't on my list, but travel is. Over the years, my reasons for not traveling were cost-related, but I also struggled to find the time given the girls' schedules and us always being so busy with Red & Black. Bottom line, there were always reasons not to do it. And now I regret it. Not for the missed trips themselves, but for the opportunity to create memories, as some of my fondest memories are from trips. And I don't mean the things I saw; I mean the time spent with those I was traveling with or traveling to see.


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First, no one ever said on their deathbed, "I wish I had worked more." Smarter maybe, but not more. Second, then make "memory making" a priority and start immediately. Call or Zoom friends, do a COVID-safe staycation, take a day-long road trip. Be creative.


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I'm already doing some of that, but the point I was trying to make is that I always thought I could do these things another time. Until life just seemed to stop. And then, a year later, you realize you might not always have the time you assumed you would.


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For years, I have said that the future is not a guarantee, merely an incentive. Unfortunately, I think the pandemic has made that painfully obvious for many people.


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Somehow, I don't think you're talking about trips. I know that life's full of regrets, but I imagine one of the worst ones is not being able to say goodbye to a loved one and realizing you never said or did the things you wish you had. It makes you think about the many things we don't do because we're busy and feel we can do it another time – simple things like stopping and spending a bit more time with your child, your partner, your parent – until you later look back and regret it.


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I think that is natural and, unfortunately, a part of life.


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I know. But this past year, more than ever before, has me thinking about things that I regret. Full stop. Some things go back many years, like losing touch with old friends, while others are more recent and make me wish for a "do-over".


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Well, it seems to me that you have two options. You can sit there and have your regrets. Or, you can learn from your regrets and do things differently.


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Hello. Are you thinking, again?


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Yes. You're right; I've been so focused on the things I regret, and have felt that I can never have another chance at, that I never even thought about how I can turn some of those regrets around. Or at least make sure I don't have similar regrets in the future. So, at the risk of regretting asking this question … do you have any regrets?


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Just as I do not take walks down memory lane, I do not "do" regrets


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So, you're trying to tell me there's nothing you'd do differently if you could live your life over?


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I did not say that. I said that I do not "do" regrets. However, making mistakes is very different from having regrets.


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Somehow, I knew I'd regret asking …

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Photo by OnTheRunPhoto for iStock

Are you taking the Dry January challenge and not having any alcohol for the month? Or, maybe you plan to drink less (but not nothing), which makes it Damp January. Or, maybe this is the first you’ve heard of it. (If so, there’s still time to start!)

Well, nothing much has changed from our approach to Dry January last year, except the one who had started drinking more last year is continuing the trend …



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I keep getting emails about where to go for mocktails. I know alcohol-free cocktails, like Virgin Margaritas, have been around for a while, but I’d never heard that term before. Do you think it has to do with New Year’s resolutions?


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It can if any of your resolutions are to lose weight, save money, sleep better. Or, drink less. Psychologically, January is the month when we “reset”, so a UK-based organization, Alcohol Change UK , started Dry January , where you abstain from drinking alcohol.


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Perfect timing since many people shop, eat, and drink more than usual over the holidays.


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I know you used to drink a glass of Cold Duck on New Year’s Eve, a tradition going back to our childhood, but that hardly counts as drinking. But, I have always wondered why you rarely drink, but never asked.
Keep Reading ...Show less

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It’s January, and everyone’s probably tired of reading about New Year’s resolutions.

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Not me. Since I never make them, I never feel the need to read about them.

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Of course, you don’t. So, what should we write about?

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How about that we celebrate some of our favorite things in January?

So many “National Days” in January are fun (we’ve written about them over the years) and remind us of some of our favorite things. (Can you pick which are Red’s favorite holidays and which are Black’s?) And whether or not you make resolutions, it’s always important to have a sense of humor and enjoy the simpler things in life …

Answer: Red’s favorites are Bagels, Popcorn, and Hugging. Black’s are Clean Desk, Bagels, and Backward.

Wishing you Happy 2024 – with new beginnings and much more!