Last night, somewhere in the space between asleep and awake (but trending towards asleep), I had A Moment. It was a little like reliving the minutes before my C-section, when the anesthesiologist and nurse had a little bit of a freakout about how much my blood pressure was dropping after the epidural. I vaguely remember them addressing it, but mostly I was bewildered & living outside of that reality, until I started wondering why the anesthesiologist was rubbing my forehead. It seemed a little familiar for a man who seemed so clinical just a few minutes ago. Then I realized it was Andy, and that he was by my side because they were about to slice a baby out of me, and my forehead was one of the few places he was allowed to touch me. Everything was fine, and the whole affair proceeded without complication, but those few minutes were surreal, and probably as close as I’ve come to experiencing the existential exit ramp.
So. last night, as I was falling asleep, I unintentionally revisited that mental space. I stayed up too late reading a magazine and then watching the new episode of Bob’s Burgers, so I was over-tired without being anxious about it. It’s a different mental space than being overtired because your toddler is teething, though that was the underpinning. I waded into out-of-body territory, as though I were in the hospital and on my way out. In a flash, I had a vision of my List of Regrets, presented to me with lucidity upon last night’s imagined impending death. I now share them with you, that we may all live better.
1. I never made an appointment at Aveda to get that bikini wax.I know winter is upon us and there’s no tropical vacation in sight, but before I died, I wanted to become the kind of women who got bikini waxes on the regular.
2. I haven’t finished the Advent calendar. I started it and hung it on the wall, but I haven’t written the numbers on the postcards yet, or affixed ornaments to 21 out of 24 pins. If I’d died last night, Charlie would grow up not knowing what the hell that thing is on the wall that he’s been looking at all childhood long. Andy’s certainly not going to finish it; he doesn’t have my vision!
3. I didn’t lose those 7 pounds. In seven pounds, I can check off the “overweight” box on medical forms rather than the “fatty-fatty-no-friends” box. It’s weird that they have that box on medical forms. I should probably find a new doctor.
4. I haven’t folded the laundry. If I die today, I’ll never know what it feels like to have all the laundry clean, folded, and put away, with all the clothes Charlie has outgrown successfully donated to needy babies.
5. I never got my master’s. This seems less daunting than finishing the laundry, though, so my hope is that I’ll actually do this at some point.
6. I’m not caught up on my magazines. That stack of Real Simple and American Theatre isn’t going to read itself. Oh God, I hadn’t even considered the complimentary subscription to various parenting magazines that started arriving in the mail once I started purchasing pregnancy tests on the regular. (Seriously, I have no idea where that came from, or how Similac knew to send me a sampler pack. Big Data, amirite?)
And sure, depending on how long I get to hang out on my death bed on my way out, I might also really regret never seeing Paris, not getting to meet my grandchildren, and not living to see the day that we commute in flying cars. But after having a faux-near-death moment of clarity last night, I know what’s really important.
Here’s the half-completed Advent calendar. Feel the regret with me.