I Can’t Bring Myself To Have “No Regrets”

As much as I would like to look back on the crazier nights of my college years, laugh and proclaim, “No regrets,” sometimes I just can’t bring myself to that testament.

Contrary to popular belief, living with “no regrets” is not easy for everyone. What is easy for me is recalling the exact nights of my freshman year when I made straight up, dumbass decisions. To be frank, most of these instances were the products of alcohol, hormones, and the opposite gender. You can conclude the rest.

College culture tells me to shrug these nights off. College kids make stupid choices all the time. We may drink too much, hook up with randos, or realize the unfortunate consequences of carrying open containers. We take chances, put ourselves out there and try new things. This is college. We’re supposed to live these four years with no regrets, and dismiss our mistakes by saying “Fuck it,” or “YOLO,” and laugh along with our friends the morning after.

Don’t get me wrong– I’m a firm believer that it’s OK to make foolish, even naïve decisions in college, because I understand the importance of experimentation. However, my poor choices have a way of sticking themselves to my skull and holding on for dear life.

A philosophy as inspiring and free-spirited as “no regrets” has great potential. The phrase promotes a fulfilled life and present-oriented living. But I’m not a fan of what the idea has become in my college community: validating the nights we truly aren’t proud of.

Having a regretful night isn’t something I want to dismiss. I can’t simply lock my sexual past into a chest and throw away the key. These are the choices I have made, and I can’t shove them off and pretend they never happened. They’ve shaped me into who I am.

I would like to look back on these rueful nights knowing that because of them, I am a better communicator in my current relationship; a woman that demands respect for her body and knows what she does and does not like. My mistakes should be treated as legitimate; as part of my being; as something that’s real. Not events I can stamp with the word “YOLO” and erase from my memory.

I would like to look back knowing that I modeled myself for the future.