I didn’t misspell it, because No Regerts has a different meaning than no regrets.
Let me give you a little back story. When Kevin, our son, was in 7th grade he came home one day with big black X’s on both hands and the words “No Regerts” written the length of his arm from his elbow to his wrist. It was written in thick black sharpie. Not the regular sharpie most of us have, but with the thickest tip, they make.
After Matthew and I laughed a little we asked Kev what it meant.
He told us … “My friends and I made a pact today to be drug-free. So everyone who was drug-free put big X’s on their hands to signify they were. Then I asked my friend to write No Regrets on my arm to show that I didn’t regret my decision.”
“Well, mom, she spelled it wrong, and now my arm says No Regerts.”
Remember I said it was in thick black sharpie and he was in 7th grade (read into this, didn’t take a shower every day) I think no regerts was on his arm for at least a week if not longer.
As with any silly thing any of us does in our family this too became a family joke. Whenever we found the moment appropriate someone would yell out “No Regerts.” We have even trained a few friends over the years to say it with us.
I believe somewhere during the later part of Kev’s freshman year it was such a hard fast family saying that we decided when he turned 18 we would get No Regerts Tattooed on us.
Return with me to the present day, if you will. We were vacationing with my parents on a small Caribbean island for the holidays. Kev’s 18 birthday was less than two weeks away.
At some point one night Kev said “Mom, can we get our tattoo’s here. It will be like you getting yours in Sweden for your 40th. I think it would be way better and more meaningful to do here instead of at home.”
As we discussed getting that tattoo. We explained living life with No Regerts to my folks. What we consider the real meaning of No Regerts to be.
It isn’t just a funny candy bar commercial on tv or a silly mistake of Kev’s in 7th grade. Living No Regerts to us means LIVING life. It sets a tone for the life I am trying to teach Kevin. It is something we, as a family, have tried our best to embody.
Someone once chuckled when I said the point was to get to the end of your time here and be able to say you lived with No Regerts. Their response was mumbled under their breath “good luck with that,” And I don’t think they were really being rude to me, I think they were expressing their sadness and remorse for chances they didn’t take.
The dictionary defines Regrets as
3rd person present: regrets
- feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity).
- “she immediately regretted her words”
And to live a life where we never mourn, feel sad for something we said would not be authentic. We all have regrets. We mourn a friend we lost without telling them how much their friendship shaped us. We regret a family member passing without saying I love you one more time. We regret what we said to someone during a fight, that while we didn’t mean it, we said it and can’t take it back.
But to live a life of No Regerts means (to us) living a life where we took the chance, we were courageous, we stepped outside of the box because it was something we felt passionate about. We didn’t let fear of the unknown stop us. We saw possibility, and we ran after it.
In the last 6 years, a few of the big chances our family has No Regerts about are
- I went back to school and got the degree I have been wanting and thinking about for years.
- I quit my stable job with a kind boss to go out on a limb and work for someone literally on the other side of the country that I had never met.
- Kev stepped out of his comfort zone, left his friends and applied for a unique high school experience.
- Matthew left his comfy job of 10 years to start building boats.
- We stepped out on a limb and took Kev on a fantastic trip to Egypt. A journey which Kev will tell you was the most impacting trip of his life to date.
Of course, there were little ones we took too … Matthew and I took swing dance lessons. We joined a bowling league. We bought a fun little convertible. I got my motorcycle license (not sure if that is big or little). We got a second dog when we were all still heartbroken after losing Buddy. (to say Rex has stolen our hearts would be an understatement.)
We took the trip. I went to school. We both quit a job for something new. We went out on a limb. We did something silly. We tried something no one else thought we should, but we felt it in our soul and didn’t want to regret not doing it. We risked it all. Big or small, we took a chance. We tried.
All of these opportunities have lead us to where we are right now. We left the rat race. We made new friends because of the opportunities we didn’t let pass us by. We live on a little more of a budget than before, but we live life on our own schedule. We live the life we create.
To say we live without challenges would be a level of sugar coating that would turn anyone diabetic. Yet, I can say that we live happily. We have the chance to experience our life fully and wake up each day content with the choices we have made.
To celebrate, we got the tattoo on the small Caribbean island just a few days before Kev’s 18th Birthday. He got his over his heart to always remind him to follow his heart. I got mine on my left ankle in the same font as the Marion River logo, to always remind me to step out with heart, to take the chance. So while we may not live without regrets, I can say our family lives with No Regerts.
I leave you with this.
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist that is all.”~ Oscar Wilde