I always end the year by writing about my accomplishments, failure, regrets and resolutions. I love this time of year because the calendar naturally moves me to reflect and take action. This post is all about 2017 regrets.

Out of all of these articles, this is always the most difficult one to write. I think regret and shame are two sides of the same coin. Regret is nostalgic, narcissistic and unproductive. Regret has your attention focused on personal disappointment instead of motivating you to do better. Regret is boring.

The closest thing I feel to good old-fashioned regret is missing my friend Mike Carden in New Zealand.

On my first day of learning how to drive on the lefthand side of the road, I drove from Auckland to Lake Taupo. If you’ve never been there, it’s all about #lakelife except cleaner than your American lake. And the people are friendlier. But it’s still a lot of bars and restaurants and tattooed people in shorts and jandals.

Mike Carden, a longtime friend and random dude you don’t know from New Zealand, happened to be in Taupo on the same night. Except he was flying in late. I wanted to stay awake and see him and his new haircut that makes him look like a lead singer in a 90s boyband, but I was struggling to stay sober during the trip. So, I went to bed instead of waiting up like a normal person who can have a conversation without alcohol.

I felt like an asshole for ditching Mike, though. I woke up early and went to his hotel at 8 AM the following to surprise him with breakfast. I rang up his mobile and was like — Surprise! I’m at your hotel! Get up, you lazy Kiwi! Let’s eat!

Except, of course, he wasn’t answering his phone.

Mike and I are friends. I’m a significant figure in his soon-to-be-published book. I helped him achieve an enlightened form of self-actualization at a bar in Chicago. But I’m not a stalker. That’s why I left the parking lot without storming the front desk.

But how could I travel tens of thousands of miles and miss this guy? It was all my fault because I can’t seem to moderate my drinking. Why does it have to be all or nothing? Why can’t I have one drink instead of six?

About twenty miles into my road trip out of Taupo to Napier, my phone rang. It was Mike, and he was like — Dude, I had no reception in that lousy hotel. This town sucks. Let’s eat!

It was too late, of course. I regretted missing my friend, but I also felt some pride that I stayed sober and could wake up and drive without a hangover. I’ll see Mike another time.

See? I told you that regret is boring. It’s nothing more than anecdotes and emotion without action. Who wants to hear that? Here’s to a new year filled with good choices and more interesting stories!

5 Responses to 2017 Regrets
  1. Martin H Snyder

    This is a humblebrag, but the best kind. Anyone who can do the bird on their own, and make it stick, is someone to reckon with. I wish I could tell you why you need six and I don’t need any, but could you tell me why I MUST have those waves in the summer and why I MUST roll my pedals for X miles? Nah. Nobody knows why. Happy New Year LFR.

    • Laurie Ruettimann

      I just wrote about my struggle with alcoholism without wallowing in it. Doesn’t feel like a humblebrag to me.

      • Martin H Snyder

        Missing a friend on the far side of the world to avoid the booze is a hard choice / accomplishment. That’s the brag part. Nothing wrong with it. Had you said you missed your friend for undisclosed reasons, would this piece be essentially the same? No way dude. Zero shame in the GOOD kind of humblebrag.

        • Laurie Ruettimann

          I’ll take it.

          Do you know Mike, btw? You’d love him. Former Sonar6 dude who sold to CSOD. Great guy, super cyncial, doing a new thing in the industry.

  2. BMJ

    Regret is narcissistic and unproductive, like this article. Someone I know commented on this article on Facebook so I read it and I wish I hadn’t; it’s really dull. To summarise…she got drunk, missed seeing a friend, but she’ll catch up with him another time. The End.