Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I'll take "Regrets" for $400, Alex...

Over at Kate's blog ("One More Thing," over on my bloglist there), she's been offering up a topic upon which to muse. This week, it's regarding regrets, or the lack thereof. I've been chewing this over for a while, too, so I thought I'd chew over it for your pleasure too.

I have one big fat regret which I won't go into here. Some things are still too personal to put online. Yet while I regret the action, at the same time, I'm not sure I had any choice but to go through it. Thankfully, the outcome was not what it could have been and I continue to grow from the experience.

Otherwise, I have some more minor regrets. I wish I'd gone to Germany with my college wind ensemble at the end of my first year of teaching. The Crane School of Music is part of SUNY Potsdam in the north country of New York, and several groups were invited to perform at the celebrations for the town of Potsdam, Germany's 500th (I think) anniversary. The director of the wind ensemble called me personally to invite me to play, all expenses paid, even though I had graduated. But it was during my last week of school, and the only way I could do it was to take the week of with no pay. That freaked me right the hell out, having a boatload of student loans, and I didn't go. Foolish. I have yet to travel anywhere outside the US (other than Canada).

I also wish I'd gone straight on to grad school after Crane, or at least taken a leave of absence after my first year of teaching. Again, I had some very neat opportunities offered to me, and I turned them down when my mother pointed out that I wouldn't have health insurance. (Which, of course, was most surely not the case...there is a such thing as student health insurance, I'm told...insert eye-roll.) And how would I pay for it? What would I live on? What was I THINKING??? My mom has always been very oriented towards financial security uber alles, and for a long time, I listened a little too hard to that "advice."

I've always been a good student, and I have a very, very good memory. In the average school setting, being able to memorize stuff for tests is an advantage. I'm also good at figuring out the rules for a particular situation and can adjust for success in most of them. Because I got high grades fairly easily and didn't seem to be challenged, I ended up getting more work: accelerated classes, a program called compacting, going to the local SUNY for part of my senior year. But the work in these programs wasn't more challenging, it was just more work. Because of this, I feel like a lot of my knowledge is a mile wide and an inch deep. I wish I'd been allowed to train my focus on fewer subjects, but with more depth. I know there's plenty of time in my adult life to dig as deeply as I want in any subject matter, but that feeling of quantity versus quality has always bugged me. I'm irritated that either no one recognized it in me, or they did recognize it but had no way to deal with me than to simply pile more on.

(And while I'm mentioning school irritations, I have yet to forgive my physics teacher during junior year for not giving me an "incomplete" for the quarter I missed three weeks of school due to having freakin' pneumonia. She averaged in zeroes for all the assignments I missed while alternating fever chills with hacking up my right lung, and there were an awful lot of them. It killed my GPA, and even though I had the highest class average since seventh grade, I lost my shot at valedictorian. That's not really a regret, I suppose, but it still pisses me off, so there.)

But there's no point in dwelling on most of these, even the big fat one. What's done is done, and I do indeed have the rest of my life to do things the way I want. It's a cliche, but every day really is a new one, and I get to choose which direction I take each time I hit the floor in the morning.

1 comment:

Linnea said...

Oh, that's an interesting and possibly painful topic. Not sure it's something for blog fodder. But - cliches are cliches for a reason - the other night, I made the decision to be nice to everyone I work with (usually I tell people to go f themselves) and it made all the difference in the world.