The foolish things I regret most in life are those things I did not do for fear of looking foolish to others.
Things I perhaps wanted to do but instead I hesitated, waited, avoided, and lost the opportunity. So I would watch others enjoy the moment, not looking foolish at all but looking like they were not afraid to have fun, laughing at themselves, being silly together and not having a care in the world. And inevitably I would end up feeling foolish anyway for not joining in, hovering self-consciously on the periphery feeling frustrated at myself.
Too many years and too many lost opportunities. Too many regrets. So the last time the opportunity arose to do something I wanted to do – something foolish, but fun – I did it! At the end of the last carefree summer before the pandemic hit my husband and I we were walking along Nairn beach with my son and his friend when I asked – Oh, is the zip-wire thing still there? You used to love that when you were kids… Yes, said my son’s friend, it’s still there… Do you fancy having a go? I’d love to, I said, without hesitation…
So I did. In a public place, with other people around, I climbed carefully onto the platform, tucked the little seat thing between my thighs with trepidation, and with a serious push off my feet launched myself across the divide towards the other side. I zipped across in no time at all, holding my legs out straight in front of me, swinging wildly and clinging on for dear life and laughing so hard I could hardly see. I hit the stop buffer at the other end and started to swing back. Eventually I came to a standstill, then pretty much fell off onto the ground about a foot below my bum.
We all had a go. More than once. Four adults, two in their fifties and two in their thirties, taking turns to try to go faster, further, encouraging each other to be even more daring, focusing on having fun and to hell with looking foolish. Occasionally other adults walked past, slowing down or sometimes stopping to watch, smiling at our high jinks. We stayed playing until a group of children appeared, keen to have a go too, then we left them to it.
It was huge fun, and for once there were no regrets. None. I was stiff as a board the next day, and the day after that, but OMG it was worth it. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, if the opportunity arose. I found out that fun trumps feelings of foolishness ever time. Every time… I just regret that it took me five decades to figure that out… 🙂