No Regrets

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I’ve been moping around my closet from price tag to price tag of all things PRE-COVID. The $200 pants I could now be translating into food, the spring tops I would now be wearing to work, the easter shoes I so badly wanted to show off. My biggest PRE-COVID splurge, a splurge of a decade was a computer I bought my husband for our anniversary. It was a dream come true for him, something he’s wanted since the day I met him. 

The thought of how foolishly money I’d spent in the months preceding social isolation angers me. Because if it wasn’t for those careless purchases, our savings would have been beefed up and the money we have put away would now last us longer. 

And careless they were; they were mindless purchases.

The kind of purchases that never truly consider an end of the world type circumstances. Expenditure which in our American minds was going to be paid for by hard work and a handsome paycheck.  As the feeling of irritation begins to settle, there is no forgiveness in my head; my mind goes wandering further back. The concerts, the sports games, the lavish dinners. Who needed lobster? Another bottle of wine?

All of that money would have been saved, and it would have left me more confident, more comfortable in managing my finances via these uncharted waters. 

And so with each trip to the closet, I meekly examine those pants…as if they don’t belong in my house and instead are kept in a gold coast boutique, which I don’t feel comfortable entering. I barely touch them to remember how much I still love them, how much I still can’t wait to wear them. I can’t bring myself to put them on, to even try them on, and definitely am not brave enough to sport them in front of my husband. He’d never let me go to a store uncensored, again.

This morning was different.

I woke up early, sat in my newly furnished sunroom. I used the unclaimed furniture from around the house to outfit the room I’ve been trying to ignore since we moved into the house. The room with a sense of leisure about it, the kind of leisure I’d never had the privilege of enjoying in my own home. Too much to do, always, there was always too much to do. Except now. This week I had spent hours cleaning the windows, the floors and walls. I asked my husband to help me carry out the unattended to projects from the sunroom into the shed making room for the homeless furniture from around the house. 

At 8 am rather than watching tv, I sat in the sunroom on the newly positioned couch, which my father-in-law calls the widow-maker, because if a full-grown man lays for a nap on this piece of furniture (as he did), he is sure to awake with an overzealous sciatica.

Today is one of the nicest days we’ve had all year. I lay in my pajamas, my robe, make up from last night and unbrushed teeth. My dog by my side, curling up in my thighs.

I am basking in the sun.

Feel the warmth on my feet, so warm that I no longer need the socks which protected me from the cold wooden floors. I feel the joy of spring, I hear the birds chirping. If you separate this moment, from the rest of my life, my current situation, I feel bliss. How dare I feel bliss? But I allow myself to feel it longer and longer. I am lounging in the glory amidst an unwanted situation. I find comfort in both hardship and sadness, in the fear and confusion. It almost feels like I’m on vacation. The freedom, the peace, the calm. I can almost pretend there is an ocean outside my door, each time I feel a breeze coming my way. I think I’ve found my happy place.

Brought into the foreground back again I read a message from a friend. I watch the attached video in disbelief and see the original Hamilton cast brought together on a zoom call, serenading a little girl. I have been afraid to listen to my favorite soundtrack for the fear of remembering what used to be my well structured, comfortable, good life. Uncontrollably, I begin to weep. I hear the music, I let it penetrate my soul. I let it heal me.

And I realize for the first time, in a long time: I don’t regret a thing.

I don’t regret spending half a year’s tuition of my daughter’s private school education on Hamilton tickets. Nor do I regret the pants or my husbands’ computer. I don’t regret a thing. And never will.

Hamilton music has always had a healing effect on me. It has been an energizing commodity in my life for the last 3 years. The computer I gifted my husband was the most exciting thing I’d ever gotten him. He was surprised and elated when he found and opened it after a game of hot and cold *to which my daughter still needs to realize the rules to. And I don’t regret the pants: the boutique trip where 5 girlfriends had solidified an unending friendship. 

I need that music now more than ever. Scott finally has the time to game on his computer and I have that friendship to rely on for support and for laughter. 

I am still weeping. I’ve had a good life. I’ve been lucky. And all of those are reminders of not just having been opportunistic with my money. Those are reminders of experiences that I now get to carry to help me make a bridge to the next set of experiences. 

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Dr. Maggie W. Augustyn is a practicing general dentist. She has been voted "America's Best Dentist" based on superior training, experience, continuing education and commitment to excellence. She completed her formal dental education earning a doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to that, she was awarded two Bachelor’s degrees (UIC and Benedictine University). In recent years, she has completed the course sequence at the renowned Dawson Academy's continuum in oral equilibration and cosmetic dentistry. She completes a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education each year, much of which has varied spanning into orthodontics, implantology, periodontics, prosthodontics, cosmetics, and the list goes on. Her recent accolade includes the Rising Star Award (2015) from Benedictine University presented to an alumnus who has made considerable strides in their career and has demonstrated dedication to philanthropic endeavors. "Dentistry is a big part of who I am, and I like it that way. It's my passion, it's my hobby. I've gotten to the point now, where what I do in the operator comes as second nature. This also means that being meticulous has crept into other aspects of my life which can add additional time to things like decorating a cake or painting a hallway, which isn't as favorable. It pretty much drives me nuts. " "Each day I try to be a better person than yesterday. I think life is about people, helping one another and enjoying life. I've volunteered in different parts of the world, and as my daughter grows older I hope to teach her to do the same. Augustyn's hobbies include volunteerism, art projects of any kind, and non-fiction reading/writing. "My favorite thing to do is to just be a mom, on a team with my husband. My mantra is Life Is Good. Not all the time and ... sometimes you might have to look for it, but most of the time, Life Is Good." She resides in Lombard with her husband Scott and daughter Ally.

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