The One Thing I Will Always Regret

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I regret passing the crying woman on the staircase inside the Chelsea Hotel.

For three floors, as I was walking up, I kept thinking of things to say to her but then I just walked right by her and heard her weeping.

I used to regret starting Vaultus, my wireless software company. I lost everything there.

I regretted saying no to all the investments that would have made a lot of money (Google, for instance).

I used to regret buying a house, or going to college because they were huge wastes of money and time and life. I was so anxious over them for so long.

I used to regret not going to IBM when they offered me a job to work on the chess computer, Deep Blue. It would have been a fun experience.

I regretted peeing in my pants at school when I was seven. I tried to run to the bathroom but, as I said to Matthew, the boy standing at the urinal next to mine, “too late.”

That’s also the last time I ever used a urinal instead of a stall. Maybe I regretted that also.

I used to regret starting a business instead of pursuing something more creative.

Business is really hard and there is a special floor in mental institutions for people who start businesses and it’s not pleasant what they inject into the poor patients there.

But I don’t regret these things anymore. None of them.

Instead, I regret the time I didn’t spend with my children when they were younger.

I think about it every day. They had a fun laugh then that is now drowned out by the more mature, skeptical laughs that they have been given, in part, by me.

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I regret not spending more time with my dad even when he was in a coma or only capable of staring at a ceiling.

And that crying girl in the Chelsea Hotel? I regret at least not opening an umbrella over her head. Even as a joke to try and cheer her up.

I regret losing touch with various family members and friends through the years, for no real reason. I tend to do that and I don’t know why.

I stop calling them and then I feel bad about it and I don’t want confrontation so I never call them again.

I regret not curling up in a ball and letting my grandmother hug me one more time before I was too old to be a little boy anymore.

Everything I no longer regret is about something I didn’t get.

Everything I really regret to this day is about the people I didn’t touch just one more time. Didn’t reach out to. Didn’t care for. Didn’t spend time with. Didn’t help. I’m sorry.

Objects and experiences are never worth regret. Lack of kindness and connection are the only wasted moments.

If I could take anything back, I’d unravel all of time just to be nicer to you for one more second.

You never knew me, but I regret not licking the horrific scar right off of your face.

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