The year was 2007, and I was 15 years old. Those were simpler times, back before I drove or had a job or really had any responsibilities at all. My life was basically carefree. I had just started high school, and I was about as nervous as a kid could be. But my best friend decided he wanted to join a club at school and asked if I’d like to join with him. I said yes, not so much because the club interested me but because I thought it would be a good way to get involved and make friends. And that it was.
Before the first meeting, my friend and I went to have breakfast with his sister and her friends, who were also a part of the club. Like I said before, I couldn’t drive at the time, so I rode with him to the diner. We had to park across the street because the restaraunt was busy and had very little parking. It was my first time to ride in the car with someone my age, it was my first time to meet these people, and it was basically my first real high school experience. The whole thing was new to me, and it was very exciting.
Now we’re at the moment of my biggest regret. If I could go back in time, re-live any one moment of my life, and do things differently, it would be this one. I remember it like it was yesterday. As I was getting out of the car, I saw a girl waiting outside the restaurant for us. I had never seen her before, and the moment I laid eyes on her, all I could think was, “Wow, that girl is really pretty. I’d like to get to know her” Not, “Wow, I’d like to date her.” Not, “Wow, she’s hot.” There was no agenda. There was no judgment or evaluation. Just a sense of awe. It was the most innocent, most genuine moment I can remember experiencing, and I think about it from time to time.
Obviously, that’s not the part I regret. I’m glad I had that feeling. The part I regret is what I decided to do about that feeling. Because I did nothing about it. Even though I genuinely cared for this girl, even though we came to be very close friends, even though we spent a lot of time together that year, I never told her how I felt. I was too young, too scared, and too insecure to do anything about my feelings. And that’s something I deeply regret.
The truth is that girl should have been my first girlfriend. She was wonderful. She was kind to me, she loved the Lord, and I would find out later that she actually felt the same way about me as I did about her. I had every opportunity to tell her how I felt, including the best New Year’s Eve party I’ve ever been to. But because I was passive and never worked up the courage to tell her, it became a missed connection—one that would bother me to this day.
Now, here’s what I’m not saying. I’m not saying this person was my soulmate. I don’t sit around missing her and wondering what our relationship would have been like. I’m happy with my life, and I’m pretty sure she’s happy with her life, too, and that’s great. It’s not so much that I regret that we didn’t date. I just regret the way things happened as a result of my passivity. I had an opportunity for my first dating relationship to be with a close friend who truly cared about me and to be based on that genuine, innocent feeling I had when I met her. I wish I had taken that opportunity. Instead, my first dating relationship was with a different girl who I hardly knew and who didn’t have a positive impact on my life. That relationship set some negative precedents for my future relationships that would take me a long time to correct, and I think all of that could have been avoided if I had just had a little faith in myself and been honest about my feelings when I had the chance.
I’ll never get that innocent, genuine moment back. It’s sad, but I’m not sure that I’ll ever be in a place again where I can look at a girl and appreciate her beauty without evaluating whether or not we would work as a couple. That was a unique, beautiful thing that I can never experience again. And when I think back on it, I kick myself for not doing anything about it. But at the same time, I’m so thankful for that moment. I’m thankful that even my regret can’t take away from how absolutely perfect that moment was. The truth is that I have so many more things to cherish than to regret, and that’s good enough for me.