Forget everything you've ever thought about regret / by Jamie Young

I recently got a couple of new tattoos. Tattoos tend to always bring up the discussion of permanence and regret. I've discussed these concepts with coworkers, friends, family and even complete strangers this month. 

This made me realize that every tattoo I've gotten has been a spur of the moment decision. I think the longest I took to think about a tattoo I have is two to three days. That's not very long. That was my first tattoo I got as an 18-year-old with my two best friends. I remember just sitting in a smoky diner in Detroit all weekend, plotting out what we could possibly get that would remind us of each other. 

It's strange because I'm the type of person who reads multiple reviews and Googles the shit out of every item before I buy it. I want to make sure I'm getting the best. I don't want to be disappointed. I don't want to regret my decision. And yet, with tattoos, I don't seem to have that same anxiety. 

So, I asked myself why.

It took something my friend said to really make me understand why; because I had no answer on my own at first. "Jamie, you're just comfortable with yourself. You know yourself so well that you know you can make a spur of the moment decision like this and be okay with it for the rest of your life." 

I'm comfortable with myself. It's like being a good judge of character. I'm a good judge of myself. Sure, that sounds easy because who knows you better than you, right? But is it, really? I don't think so. I think it's taken me a long time trust myself. 

But it's not just about being comfortable and trusting myself. It's about taking chances. It's about facing regret head on. 

We're trained to want to avoid regret. To be fearful of it. But regret isn't failure; regret shows where you've been and helps you move forward. Regret means possibilities. Regret means you're not afraid: Don't be afraid of regret. Embrace it. 

Now forget everything you've ever thought about regret and think about this instead: If you don't have any regrets, you haven't lived. You haven't made mistakes. You haven't taken adventures. You haven't jumped without looking and gotten that rush. You haven't put your anxiety aside and just taken a moment to breathe and be at peace. 

How can you truly live in the moment if you're constantly thinking "Will I regret this?"

I don't want to have #noregrets. I want to have regrets because I've taken chances. But I guess, in turn, that makes my regrets not so regrettable. Instead, I'm proud of my regrets. My regrets are like battle scars: showing where I've been, what I've done, chances I've taken, decisions I've made rashly, jumps I've taken without looking...and that's pretty fucking awesome.

So, live. Wear your regret like a medal of honor. Wear it proudly. After all, you deserve it.