Regret is a funny thing.

Twenty-some years ago, I made a terrible, stupid mistake, and it has shaped every part of my life since.

I can know that no amount of mooning about that will change it. I can know that things are awesome now – awesome to the point that I often feel sorry for the rest of you people. I can even know that much of the awesome can only exist because of the very thing that I so deeply regret. Including, but not limited to, my beautiful kids who I love so much it hurts. And yet, still, the regret is there. The never-ending what-if and why-didn’t-I.

This weekend, cleaning out the closet, I came across a stack of letters from a dear sweet friend, way back in 1991 and 1992, showing me what a good relationship looks like, and persuading me – although that wasn’t her direct intent – that the decision I was making was stupid, and that I’d regret it. It seems pretty clear that I believed her, and even agreed. But I made the decision anyways.

And here we are.

I’m glad I kept the letters, even though each time I come across them it’s so very heartbreaking. I’m glad I’m still friends with the person that wrote the letters.

But, boy, do I want to grab 20-year-old-me by the throat and shake.