If you’re one of my close friends, you probably know that I think about death a lot. I have since I was pretty young as well. I have a tattoo that literally represents death and I think about it on the reg.
This sounds morbid, depressing, and potentially creepy. But I don’t see it that way.
Being aware of my own mortality and my impending death pushes me to live. I know that I am not going to be here forever. So while I am here, why not do everything that I want to do? Why not get the tattoos I’ve been wanting? Why not stay in if I don’t feel like going out? Why work at a job that I hate? Why not live out and proud? Why not take a crazy chance? Why not do a crazy dance? If you lose a moment, you can lose a lot. So why not. Why not!!
If I’m going to die one day, I might as well live the life I have exactly how I want. And being aware of death is ironically what pushes me to live.
I’m not sure what prompted my daily thoughts about death (holy shit that sounds so creepy and weird wtf!!!) but I’m glad for it. Besides pushing me to live how I want while I’m still living, it’s given me a new outlook on regret.
It sounds stereotypical, but I really do think that the “no regrets” thing has some clout.
But I would modify that a little bit. It’s not that people don’t have any regrets. We all have regrets, no matter how small they are. I regret one of my college majors. I regret not coming out sooner. Fuck, I regret saying “you too” to the people who sell tickets at the movie theater when they tell me to enjoy the movie.
But all of these decisions are things I can live with, and have made me who I am today. Who knows where I’d be, better or worse, if I hadn’t done those things. When trying to decide something, there’s nothing helpful about asking yourself “What if I regret it?” because that is always a possibility.
The real questions you should ask yourself are, “If I do it and I regret it, can I live with it?” And, “If I don’t do it and I regret it, can I live with it?”
Let’s look at some examples from my own life. I know that I’m a trans guy who wants to medically transition, but I wrestled with the idea of starting hormones for almost a year. The main thing holding me back was my nagging fear that I would regret my decision to start them, seeing as some changes are irreversible.
But the idea that I could die tomorrow without ever even trying hormones was more terrifying than the idea that I might regret a permanently lower voice. I would live with more regret having never gone on hormones that I would if I do go on them and regret it.
So I’m starting hormones this Tuesday and getting two new tattoos next Saturday. And if I regret either one, I can live with that.
We all have regrets. Which ones can you live with?