You’d better know that in the end
It’s better to say too much
Than never to say what you need to say again
– John Mayer, Say –
We spend half our lives regretting the things we have and haven’t done, and things we have and haven’t said. It could be the regret of taking that job at Vogue because it means we’re chained to the hem of Anna Wintour, or the regret of not taking the job at Harper’s Bazaar because we found out too late about the fantastically unrivaled expense account. It could be the regret of putting our I love you‘s out there without first making sure they’ll come back, or the regret of not telling Big Momma that we hate her cheesecake which has led her to making them every other week. There isn’t a day — or at least a week — in our lives that we’re not regretting something.
But then after delving into it further, half of our regrets are quite unnecessary, really. If we hadn’t taken the job at Vogue we wouldn’t be privy to that fabulous and legendary Closet, and if we had told Big Momma we hated her cheesecake she might also have stopped making the brownies we could never get enough of. And if we hadn’t told someone how we feel about them, and all of a sudden we don’t talk to each other anymore, we’d be spending the next few weeks going, “I wish I’d told him I loved him.” *
Someone once asked, “Does it bother you that you told him you were in love with him but he didn’t say it back?” Admittedly it was mortifying at first that the words had been thrown out there and had just hung there without coming back. But then one of the most curious things about loving someone is that we do it unconditionally; we don’t love someone on the condition that they have to love us back, and we don’t say it on the condition that they have to say it back. Maybe things like that are just supposed to happen in their own time, or maybe even not at all. But we learn to accept it at any rate, and whether or not the other person says it back, we can look back and tell ourselves, “At least I told him I loved him.” *
* Gender is relative to reader/writer. To put ‘him/her’ would be very unsightly.