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


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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.
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Photo by bhofack2 for iStock

Popcorn! Quite simply, it’s one of my absolute favorite things. Starting when I was a child, whenever I went to the movies, I’d get (and finish!) the largest bucket of popcorn available. And I always thought movie popcorn was far superior to what you could make at home … until a recent trip to visit a close friend in Tennessee, and she introduced me to Great Northern Popcorn (I promise this isn’t a paid ad). Now I’m addicted to it as I can make it on my cooktop. I know Black would be more interested in the science of what makes popcorn pop, but I prefer to just be obsessive about my popcorn …

Popcorn. Just the thought of popcorn makes me smile, makes me want to indulge, makes me happy. And I’m guessing my popcorn obsession makes Black roll her eyes (although she might admit it can be a healthy snack). However, plenty of people must love popcorn as much as I do. Why else would there be a National Popcorn Day?!

Over the past few years, the pandemic posed challenges that none of us could’ve foreseen (and I’ll never forget the dedication of the front-line workers or make light of the sacrifices so many had to make). But part of me has to laugh at the irony because it ended my seemingly easy “escape” from the stresses of life – going to the movies and enjoying the largest bucket of popcorn – when I needed it the most.

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


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You’re going to roll your eyes, but lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about myself.


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That is totally out of character, unless you are thinking of New Year’s resolutions.


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Actually, no. For decades, my priorities, and therefore my life, have always been focused on the girls and Mom. But that’s all changing. And I’m not sure how to “change” with it.
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