Having no regrets is a nice concept. It’s what I generally say when I talk to the media. I wouldn’t change anything because if I did, who knows- I might not have this child; I might not have this life. But it’s sort of bullshit, honestly. Of course I regret things. Who doesn’t?
I was emailing with my old friend Garrett, with whom I’ve corresponded in one way or another for about twenty years (check out his amazing Cricket Trailer), and he told me he liked my blog post about saying yes to things but yes has to be tempered with balance. It’s possible, of course, to say yes to all kinds of things that are blatant mistakes. Things that are dangerous, self-destructive, addictive. I’ve said yes to a little of all of that in my life. Garrett was foolish enough to travel through Europe with me when we were in our early twenties (that’s us above at a chateau in France), so he knows a thing or two about my talent for winding up in dangerous situations. He still talks about a party I dragged him to in Amsterdam, with performance art so extreme that he actually passed out.
As far as regrets go, I have a few doozies. But if I had to choose, I’d rather be the person with too much yes in me than the person who is restrained and dignified, with no messy stories or bad tattoos. I try to look at the bad tattoos as a reminder not to take this fleeting shell too seriously. I try to look at them as emblems of the fact that I take enough risks to wind up with regrets.
But when I think of my son, I pray that he’ll be someone who intuitively knows how to strike the right balance between “yes” and “no fucking way- that tattoo will look totally stupid when I’m forty.” Or, more importantly, yes, I’d love to backpack through India but no thanks, I won’t try that heroin because I hear it’s a really bad idea. I’m banking on the fact that if we teach him to love himself, that balance will naturally follow.