I was at a welcome dinner for a church group last week, and as an icebreaker gamer, we played Awkward Introductions.  The theory is that if you name it as awkward, it won’t seem as awkward anymore; I suppose it’s sort of like the idea that you have to identify a problem before you can fix it.  Basically, though, the first person says his or her name and then thinks of a question for everyone else to answer (they have to answer it, too).  The second person answers the first person’s question and then thinks of another question for all the remaining people to answer.  This continues until the poor last person has twenty-some questions to answer.  The questions can be normal (Do you have any pets?  What’s your favorite food?  What do you do in your spare time?) or weird (If you had a third arm, where would it be?  If you could be a food, what would it be and why?  If there were a zombie apocalypse, what would your weapon of choice, hiding place, and sound track be?)–this time, they were mostly weird.  Honestly, I like weird questions more because if you don’t know the people, it tends to spark more discussion which can be (at times) insightful, and if you do know the people, it’s simply more entertaining.

After answering some of the aforementioned questions as well as things like “What utensil would you be?” and “What is the weirdest dream you’ve had?”, I asked the remaining people, “If you could go back in your life, what would you change?”  I didn’t mean it to be a deep question, but apparently that’s how people interpreted it.  For my part, I said not continuing with piano (not that I would have had time in reality).

But it got me thinking about what I regret doing/not doing.  There are a lot of things throughout my thus far short life, but regarding last year in particular, I wish I could change a great deal.  Yesterday was the Tomahawk Twilight Invitational, which is a big late afternoon/evening/”night” cross country meet my old team runs.  I hated that course for some reason, yet even so, I found myself wishing I could be back with them.  A great deal of things were falling apart in my life a year ago, but even so, I’d redo y senior year in a heartbeat, even if it meant reliving the bad along in order to make other things better.  So, current and future seniors, here’s what I’d change:

  1. I’d spend more time with people–teachers and peers.  I”m not an extroverted person, so I find large group settings challenging, but I would make more of an effort to get to know my good friends better.  After senior year, everything changes.  There are people who I’d known for years, some for a decade or more (a long time when you’re not yet two decades old), but I only truly started to appreciate them in the last few months of senior year.
  2. I would take anatomy instead of Spanish.  I took a fourth year of language because everyone told me it would look better on college applications and possibly be helpful once I actually got to college.  Guess what?  It did neither.
  3. I would do my senior project as a series of interviews asking people about what they believe or don’t believe about God/worldview/religion, rather than brass instrumental recording.  The project I did was fun (and rather expensive…), but I feel like I would have gotten more out of a people-oriented project.
  4. I would not have pushed so hard during summer training.  I let my own dumb, selfish personal goals get ahead of what was best for the team, and it ended up hurting everybody involved.
  5. I would have eaten/slept in a more…balanced…manner.  While it’s moderately comforting to know I can subsist on six (or fewer…) hours of sleep per night for an entire school year, it’s not an experience I particularly want to repeat.
  6. I would have spent more time on certain college applications and applied to more schools in California and more schools where I could have run.  I also would have more seriously considered UW.
  7. I wish I could have found Redemption Church sooner, but that was less under my control, so I suppose even if I could go back in time, I couldn’t really change that without some special foresight.  Then again, if time travel is possible…
  8. I would have gone running with other people more.  I rarely run with people for a variety of reasons, but I whenever I do so consistently, I find that I (usually) end up liking the person a lot more than when we started.
  9. I would have gotten a different job over the summer.  Money is nice, and in terms of profitability, my job was terrible.  In terms of my enjoyment, though, it was pretty good…
  10. I would have had more fun.  No, I’m not a Friday-night-party-night person, but  spontaneous coffee/study dates, ski Fridays, tea parties (Yes, I went to tea parties.  I’m just that cool.), dinner-and-Praxis/theology Monday evenings, cross country sleepovers, and yes, even the open/fun/crazy/costume run at Tomahawk Twilight are some of my best memories.  I wish I had more of them.  In a way, I suppose this goes along with Number 1.

Feel free to insult each other, forget your manners, create straw men, ignore empirical data, and commit as many other fallacies as you can, all from the cozy, anonymous protection of your keyboard.

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