I was recently asked, “What’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make?” I think it’s safe to say I know the answer to that question, but am not willing to elaborate on it. Maybe not ever.
So instead, I’ll talk about A difficult decision, rather than THE difficult decision. I promise, it pales in comparison.
I made a choice when I was a senior in high school that might be the only thing I’ve ever regretted. I try not to live a life of regrets. There’s nothing I can do to change the past, so there’s little point in dwelling on it. But this one tends to haunt me from time to time. And it’s really not even that big of a deal.
I chose to sing in a band rather than be a cheerleader my senior year. I desperately wish I wouldn’t have made that choice. Yes, I loved singing with that band and I learned a lot, musically and personally, by being with those people, but cheerleading? That was, by definition, who I was. I fought long and hard to get to that point and I was told by my coach that there’d be no voting, no nothing…her decision to have me as captain was final and certain.
Having to tell her that I wouldn’t be part of the squad was one of the hardest conversations I’ve ever had. I wrote a formal letter and sat down to talk with her. Even at 17 years old, I knew it was going to be difficult and I tried to go about it the best way I knew how. It was incredibly painful.
Watching some of my closest friends cheer at every football and basketball game sometimes became too much and I’d leave games early (sometimes in tears). I missed out on a lot that year. A LOT. I tried to make it up to myself by coaching a junior high squad for two years after high school and that, in and of itself, was incredibly rewarding. I still get to see and talk to some of those girls and it’s fun to hear their stories and versions of stories from when we worked together. But even working with them made it hard not to be a part of “my” squad.
Yes, it’s probably a very silly thing to have a regret over, but I do. I don’t think about it often, but when I see my box of high school memorabilia (which contains a pair of contraband poms), I get a bit wistful. Not the way I’m wistful when I see another box in my storage shed, but wistful, nonetheless.