AN APOLOGY TO SKINNY BITCHES

Opposites
I rag constantly on models, actresses, and skinny bitches in general, because, well, they’re skinny…and obviously disciplined (or neurotic, bulimic, or anorexic). But I’ve a newfound respect for them. I’ve come to learn it’s really hard to be a skinny bitch—especially after 40.

I have always been somewhat obsessed with my weight. Not to the point of compulsively dieting or working out, but always mentally obsessing. Because I despise exercise, a quick fix to lose a few pounds would be to just not eat. No biggie, since food doesn’t excite me all that much, and I’m not a stress eater. I much prefer to chew my nails and make other people’s lives miserable when I’m stressed out.

I’ve never had a weight problem per se, but I’ve never been a skinny bitch either. I’m half Italian and half Polish, which explains why excess carbs go straight to my ass. I grew hips at 16 when I went on the Pill and they’ve been with me ever since. I fell in love with my son’s father when he uttered those 3 words I always longed to hear: “You’re too skinny.” He liked thick women with big asses. Who wouldn’t love that in a man?

It wasn’t until my ex up and left me with a 1 year old and I started fantasizing about driving head-on into traffic that I began taking happy pills which packed on the pounds. I didn’t care—better to be fat and (somewhat) happy, rather than thin and batshit crazy. I did manage to eventually lose the 30 pounds I had accumulated from eating bagels drenched in butter, much to the delight of literally everyone around me, including the mailman. You never realize how fat you’ve gotten until you A. See yourself in photos and B. Receive congratulatory comments about how much weight you’ve lost from people whose name you don’t even know.

Weight management is like being bipolar—sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down, but there’s always fluctuation. So when I stopped working out regularly once again and began eating crap like salty snack mixes, Almond Joys, and pizza, the pounds crept back on. Here’s the frightening thing though. While I may have always had thighs, hips, and an ass, what I NEVER had before was a stomach. So when all of a sudden I had this fucking muffin top hanging over my waistband, I was horrified. According to my rules of karma, everyone should have 1 area of their body that doesn’t give them a problem no matter how much they eat or drink.

After a few months of whining and feeling sorry for myself, I started working out regularly again. No results. Then I started eating slightly smaller portions. Nothing. I cursed my 46-year-old metabolism, and saw myself turning into this flabby, middle-aged potato-shaped woman with a lot of cats. I became depressed. I napped a lot. I took the Why bother? approach. Summer crept closer and closer, which meant shorts and tank tops. I knew a burka just wouldn’t go over in my neighborhood.

So I finally, finally got my ass in gear and took charge. Made a goal, started getting B-12 shots in my ass for energy, bought some green detox powder that tastes like mowed grass, plus a high-quality meal replacement drink that becomes gluey paste if it sits too long. I started exercising and using little 5-pound weights. But I did not actually start noticing a distinct change in my body until I took drastic measures. What did I have to do? I had to go to Hell and stay there. In fact, I’m still there, because I’m 6 pounds away from my goal.

For the last month, I have been working out every. freaking. day. I have NEVER done that in my life. I drink that green crap for breakfast, a meal replacement for lunch, and have a salad with maybe some tuna in it for dinner. I dish out lasagna and pizza for my son while biting my fist in frustration, but I have not caved yet. I went to a 4th of July party and didn’t drink alcohol or eat dessert. I had guacamole without the chips, and chicken instead of beef.

Sure I may feel great, but are you kidding me? This is no way to live. How do the skinny bitches do it? I mean, yeah, I’ve lost weight, but I had cherry tomatoes for dessert last night when I was craving something sweet. Fucking cherry tomatoes! That’s insane to have to do that all the time. In order to be skinny, you have to omit carbs (the good ones, anyway) which means you can never eat a goddamn sandwich or a burger. Certainly no chips. Or tortillas. No to sugar. And steak. And pasta. And potatoes. And what you do eat has to be in minute amounts. Plus, you have to exercise like 2 hours a day!

I applaud all you skinny bitches, because it’s damn hard to stay skinny. The will power and discipline needed is enormous and commendable. I think it was Julia Roberts who once said that in order to be thin you have to say no a lot when it comes to food. Yeesh.

So Brava to all the skinny bitches out there! I’ve decided I don’t want to join your masochistic club (the dues and obligations are way too high), so I’ll be admiring you from afar, instead.

How many of you are skinny bitches? And how in the hell do you stay that way?

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WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO GIVE UP?

FAT CAT

I still stand by my statement that nobody can have it all. Those neurotic, Type-A women who say they’re doing it all and they’ve never been happier? The ones who claim they’re able to run their own business, work out, be an awesome mother, a loving and fulfilling wife, AND plant an herb garden on the weekend are fooling themselves. Or pilfering their kid’s Adderall.

It’s just not physically possible, is it? I have the job, kid, and working out part going on, and most of the time I feel like I’m going to drop dead from sheer exhaustion. I want 2 things more than anything in this world: for my son not to grow up to become a part of the penal system, and to have a lucrative career as a writer. So what am I willing to give up? A relationship, which requires work, energy, and persistence.

What am I willing to give up for staying in shape? Ugh, what a bitch that is. My entire life I’ve been able to wish away the pounds… or snort them away, or starve them away. Until I hit my 40s. Then, not eating for 3 days suddenly didn’t work anymore. Which meant I had to exercise. I hate exercise. Always have. But I was forced to do it, because I saw my body changing in ways I had never seen before. Ways I didn’t like, and it wasn’t pretty. So I started exercising regularly and whipped my fat ass back into shape. A boyfriend commented, “You’re so tight. How are you so tight?” I told him he could thank my obstetrician for that. “No,” he said. “Not that. Your body.” How? “I work my ass off, that’s how,” I told him. Even when I’m tired. Or hungover. Or feeling lazy.

A few years later, I stopped working out. Went through a winter depression and just didn’t care. Body parts became soft again. How bad did I want to get back into shape? Meh. Wasn’t high on my priority list. Much more important was my coffee with heavy cream and dark chocolate Lindt balls. Even more important was writing my novel.

Now, with the novel finished and summer here, my priorities have shifted yet again. Keep my son’s head from exploding from too many video games, and get back into shape. I’ve started swimming and running every day, because I can’t get away with only exercising every other day anymore. Not with a sedentary job. I’m almost tempted to work at McDonalds just to up my metabolism. Now I weigh the choice between 4 potato chips verses 35 minutes on the treadmill. How bad do I want those potato chips? Not enough to add another half hour of running into my day.

Today, as I was getting my son’s daily allotment of 3 Oreos, I just had to stick my nose inside the bag and inhale deeply. “It’d be really, really easy to eat 16 of these,” I said to myself. How badly did I want Oreos? I sighed. Then I cursed, and sealed up the bag. Not enough to feel like crap tomorrow.

What are you willing to give up?

CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL MY ASS TO GET MOVING BECAUSE IT’S NOT LISTENING TO ME

JOGGERS

photo by lululemon athletica

WHAT IS A WORKOUT? by George Allen

A workout is 25 percent perspiration

and 75 percent determination.

Stated another way, it is one part physical exertion

and three parts self-discipline.

Doing it is easy once you get started.

A workout makes you better today than you were yesterday.

It strengthens the body, relaxes the mind,

and toughens the spirit.

When you workout regularly, your problems diminish

and your confidence grows.

A workout is a personal triumph over laziness and

procrastination.

It is the badge of a winner—the mark of an organized

goal-oriented person

who has taken charge of his, or her, destiny.

A workout is a wise use of time

and an investment in excellence.

It is a way of preparing for life’s challenges

and proving to yourself

that you have what it takes to do what is necessary.

A workout is a key that helps unlock the door

to opportunity and success.

Hidden within each of us is an extraordinary force.

Physical and mental fitness are the triggers that can release it.

A workout is a form of rebirth.

When you finish a good workout, you don’t simply feel better,

YOU FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF.

 

I pulled these inspirational words out of a folder of papers I hadn’t looked at in years, because I figured I needed a big swift kick in the ass when it comes to exercising—remember why it’s so great for you, blah blah blah. It’s now taped prominently where I can see it, in the hope that it will remind me that no progress can be made in my fatness unless I MOVE.

I got on this cookie rampage around the holidays and come end of January, it still hadn’t stopped. Sugar for me is like cocaine; I ingest a little, but then I want more. And more. And more. And I can’t stop eating it, until it’s time to get into a bathing suit, and then I’m like…Oh crap!

So I told myself: “Self, you need to get your sugar cravings under control before you’re forced to shop for Delta Burke Clothing.”

Self said, “Uh, I don’t think so. Hey, can you grab me a chocolate-covered granola bar. You’re closer.”

“No really,” I said. “I’m not kidding around. You’re like this insatiable monster that can’t get enough.”

“Yeah, and…?”

“Well, none of your clothes fit anymore.”

Self thought about it for a moment. “That might be a problem, I suppose.”

“Not only that, but you’re turning 45!”

“So?”

“You don’t want to be fat for your birthday, do you?”

“Depends. Will there be cake? And if so, will I be allowed to eat it?”

It was a losing battle, so I knew drastic measures had to be taken. I came up with the brilliant idea to do the Master Cleanse—nothing but lemon juice/maple syrup/red pepper in water for 10 days. I decided to do it my way though. I still drank coffee with heavy cream, (no way in hell was I going to experience food AND caffeine withdrawals) and I ate a few veggies, and a bit of fruit. The first day was no problemo. The third day was hell and a hot flash—and not because I was hungry, but because I couldn’t think straight; it was what I imagine encephalitis to feel like. And I had the kind of headache that felt like 20 woodpeckers jackhammering my forehead. And I went to bed at 8:30 after getting up at almost noon.

This morning I decided that not eating truly madly deeply sucks, and I’d rather stay toxic than go through a freaking headache like that again, as well as perpetual brain inertia. But it did get my sweets craving under control, and the entire miserable ordeal showed me that if I want to eat then I have to exercise. Because it really doesn’t matter how thin I am if my mind can’t form coherent sentences and I end up passing out from lack of food in front of a moving bus.

I’LL TRY MY HARDEST NOT TO LET YOU DOWN 2013

Usually I don’t bother making New Year’s resolutions, because I already know where I stand on any changes I need to make. I suppose if I made my resolutions more realistic, I wouldn’t fail miserably at them. For example: Drink more coffee; Exercise less; stress more. I would definitely feel a sense of accomplishment over achieving these.

But I’m feeling a little more optimistic this year, what with my first book having been published, thus proving that 2012 wasn’t a completely craptastic year for me, so I figured, why the hell not? I could stand some improvement.

I hate to be a cliché, but yes, I need to exercise more. Let me tell you why. A month ago something happened to my back that rivaled the pain of my 18 hours of back labor—one minute I was fine, the next I was in excruciating pain for days. It gave me a premonition of what it’ll probably be like when I’m old and decrepit, and it wasn’t fun. If I had been in better shape physically, I’m convinced my back would have never made me privy to what it feels like to be shot in the spine. The truth is I sit on my ass in front of a computer all day. This does not bode well for the body, as opposed to, say, farming or being a crossing guard, so I need to do SOMETHING more than I’m already doing (which is absolutely nothing).

I’ve also been trying for months to embrace my fatness, and I’m sorry to say it just ain’t gonna happen. I can try to admire this type of body:

rubens

I can even superimpose my head on her body and then stare at it every day with the hope of achieving a kinder, gentler body image. I can curse social media and the fashion industry for setting unrealistic standards for women. I can choose to actually believe the men who claim they don’t like stick women, but in the end, this is what I find sexy and attractive:

?????????????????????????????????????????????

I’m sure it stems from my unhealthy obsession with wanting to be a model when I was young, my various eating “disorders,” and a general shitty sense of self-esteem, but I don’t like being heavier than a size 6-8. I feel gross, unsexy, and like I swallowed 2 of my 3 cats, so…

Resolution #1    Exercise more!

It’s also time to get another tattoo. I think long and hard about tattoos. I look at my body in the mirror, and all I see is skin…a blank canvas needing art. I studied art history in college. Look Dad, I’m finally using my major! People always say: Imagine how your tattoos will look when you’re old. I say: Imagine how ALL of me is gonna look when I’m old! Saggy, wrinkled skin vs. saggy wrinkled skin with tattoos…both look like crap, in my opinion, and besides, I won’t be prancing around in a bikini when I’m 70. I. Just. Won’t. At the rate I’m going, the only one who will see my pruny tattoos will be my cats…and the diva Chihuahua, who will, I’m convinced, outlive me. Replace the Yorkie with a Chihuahua, and this will be me in 10 years.

TATTOOS

photo by stevegatto2

Resolution #2    Get another tattoo!

This leads me to matters of the heart…My heart is presently like this:

BROKEN HEART

photo by CarbonNYC

I need to start working on forgiving my son-of-a-bitch ex-boyfriends for all the pain and torment they’ve caused me, so my heart can heal and become whole again, like this:

PIZZA HEART

photo by woodleywonderworks

I need to visualize this lovely romantic scenario:

WOMAN WITH SWORD

photo by delam

instead of envisioning taking that sword and plunging it into any one of my exes’ hearts. Ahem. Okay, so a lot of work needs to be done in the forgiveness department. I used to have this poster on my wall in my 20s:

MERMAID

photo by deflam

That was how I imagined love to be. Here’s the thing: I love men; I worship men; I appreciate men—I just hate my exes, who have soured me on men in general; not to mention every man I meet nowadays seems to be a prototype of one of my exes, just with different eye color. Still, I don’t want to die a bitter old woman, so it might be nice to live happily ever after with a mate, especially when I’m a senior, if only so he’ll be able to dial 911 when I fall and can’t get up.

Resolution #3    Heal bitter heart!

I’m always striving to become a better mother. Case in point: my son wants to go to church, so I force myself to go to church. It certainly can’t hurt. I’m the first to admit needing more of this in my life:

PRAYING STATUE

photo by Guillaume Paumier

God knows, I resemble this way too closely:

DEVIL WOMAN

photo by DementdPrncess

So more of an effort needs to be made on my part for my own spiritual development. I also need to remember that going to church can be a bonding experience for my son and I, as can playing card games together. So instead of feeling this way when my son asks me to play the game, War, while I’m trying to write a sultry sex scene:

EMOTION

photo by Clearly Ambiguous

my mind needs to focus on the importance of nurturing our relationship, instead:

MOTHER AND SON

photo by linek

Resolution # 4   More quality time with son!

And speaking of spirituality, I really need to strive to be more like this in terms of my writing and my career:

MEDITATION

photo by HaPe_Gera

After The Accidental Cougar was released, I experienced post-partum publication blues.

BEAUTY AND PAIN

photo by rocketjim54

Instead of feeling proud of myself for all I had accomplished, I only looked at how far I still had to go, and how much further others were ahead of me. It’s tough to look at an author you admire—an author who already has an established career, having published 9, 15, 20 or more novels—and not compare yourself to them and feel like a failure. It’s also tough not to fall into a deep spiraling depression over this and consider chucking everything to move to Tahiti to make puka shell necklaces to sell on the beach. No doubt the life of a writer is tough, with many ups and downs. But if it’s the life I choose, then I need to suck it up and deal…in the most zen-like way possible, or risk having to write my next book from within the walls of an institution.

SCREAM

photo by llya Boyandin

Resolution # 5   It’s okay not to be Nora Roberts.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I REFUSE TO EMBRACE MY FATNESS

Photo by isfullofcrap

Okay, in all fairness, I’m not fat, as in “The Biggest Loser” fat. But I’m fatter than I care to be. I hate to exercise. I have always hated to exercise. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY. There were no grassy fields to play soccer or baseball. The closest park was paved entirely in cement, and had monkey bars without any protective padding underneath in case you fell. No child frolicked through this park; teenagers went there to smoke pot and spit.

I can’t tell you how many notes I forged from my mother to get out of gym class. In my senior year of high school, at our graduation luncheon, every classmate was presented with a certificate of where they’d be in ten years.  Mine said I’d be promoting my book called 1 in 365—How to stay in shape while only exercising one day a year.

My way of staying thin throughout my twenties was to just not eat. I wasn’t anorexic by any means, because I was hypoglycemic and would pass out if I didn’t consume protein. I just didn’t eat that much. Food never really excited me. Eating is one big time-consuming drag, as is the preparation and clean-up of it, so if I could just pop a pill to get all my nutrition instead, that would suit me fine.

I’m not a stress eater, either. Stress drives me to drink coffee, drink alcohol, or yell. If I’m really emotionally unhinged, I’ll actually lose my appetite. This has served me well regarding weight management. Don’t get me wrong—I was NEVER bone thin. I was born with fleshy hips, thighs, and an ass, all made larger over the years by the fake estrogen in the Pill.

My best friend from high school, who was obsessed with her weight and super-skinny, would always lament over how fat she was because she couldn’t get down to a size two. I wasn’t even a size two when I was two. Her, and women like her, I want to smack. Seriously. Because if they’re unable to squeeze any flab, and yet are still complaining about how fat they are, what does that make me? Clinically obese?

Speaking of…that’s what my dear dad called me when I got up to an unfathomable 160 pounds five years ago. He had the gall to pull out his medical encyclopedia and tell me my BMI was so over the limit, that I was…yes, OBESE. Boy, with a father like that, who needs an abusive spouse? I’ll mention the fact that I put on weight after my son’s father left me suddenly after my son turned one. Enter Prozac, then Zoloft, then Effexor to keep me from driving off a cliff into the ocean, and you have a prescription for fatness.

I’m not sure why antidepressants make people gain weight. Is it because they’re not depressed anymore, so they regain their appetite? Is it a cruel joke played by the pharmaceutical companies that make them? (Ha! You cannot be both happy AND thin!) Are they so zonked out, they don’t care how fat they’re getting? (Whoa, I’m becoming as large as a whale. Eh, it’s all good.) Retention of water, in the amount of Lake Michigan?

What I do know is the older I get, the more my not eating solution from my younger days doesn’t work. In my twenties and thirties, I used to be able to watch what I ate for a few days and feel somewhat svelte again, but when I hit age 41, I finally bit the bullet and realized I needed to exercise. It was tortuous, but I penciled it in like a doctor’s appointment every other day. I lost the weight, tightened up the flab, and was able to go swimming without wearing a muumuu.

I kept this up for two years until this winter reared its ugly head, and I became depressed, tired, and unmotivated. “I’ll work out the next day” or “the next day,” and pretty soon almost twenty pounds came sprinting back, suctioning themselves to various parts of my body. I stared at myself in the mirror the other day and felt like crying. “Dammit, now I have to start all over again!” I whined.

My mother and I would have wicked arguments while I was growing up when she would try and tell me that the first step toward weight loss was Acceptance: Looking in the mirror and loving what you see, regardless of what you feel you need to change. And I’d look at her like she had two heads, squeeze a big chunk of inner thigh blubber and scream, “How can I love myself when I look like a fat cow?!”

Plus-size models may embrace their heftiness, because well, they’re getting paid to. But when I sit down and two rolls of stomach fat accompany me, I feel like moving to Hawaii so I never have to wear another waistband again.

I can’t afford to move to Hawaii, and I can’t afford a new wardrobe. I’ve tried eliminating food, except for the 3000 calories of heavy whipping cream I use daily in my coffee. I refuse to embrace my unwelcome fatness (unless it’s in my breasts, which, of course it never is). So that leaves me with only one thing left to do…

Sigh. Does typing count as exercise?

LAST CALL

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about death. I’m middle-aged, after all, even though mentally and emotionally I still feel like I’m twenty-three. I read articles all the time on secrets for how to live to be a hundred and ten, even though they always say the same thing: Eat vegetables, nuts and seeds, exercise, eliminate stress, and be happy, and I think, Ok, I’ll do all those things once I retire, except by that time I know it’ll be too late and then I get stressed out over this and obsess over the fact that I could die any day now, so I eat French fries and chocolate to console myself, but then I’m not happy and I know I should work it off, but I don’t, because I feel too much like a bloated pig to exercise.

Healthy habits = 0 for me, but here’s the thing—how many people on their death bed wish they ate more veggies and omega-3s, or had tried a Zoomba class? NO ONE.

Here’s what some people did say were their biggest regrets in an article from The Guardian on Facebook.

Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently,” she says, “common themes surfaced again and again.”

Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

 

So how are you doing on these?

Living my life my way has always been singlewritermom’s biggest challenge. I already wish I could have blocked out everyone else’s expectations for me and listened to my own drumbeat sooner. When I was a wee little lass, I skipped fourth grade, and excelled at learning foreign languages. Hence I became “the smart girl,” who everyone hoped would get a job at the United Nations one day (No pressure though). I then morphed into “the pretty girl,” who no doubt would grace thousands of magazine covers and travel the world. Except then I became “the sick girl,” and nobody knew what the hell to do with me, except continually ask, “Well, what the freak are you going to do with your life now?”

Sadly, it wasn’t until I hit forty-three that I could admit to being a writer without feeling like an imposter.

As for wishing I hadn’t worked so hard? I’m pretty sure I’d wish I’d been able to work harder. I’m specifically referring to exercise, but not for the health benefits to extend my life span. I would have loved to have seen my body with muscle definition—kinda like a body-builder type, but more Rachel Mclish, then Bev Francis. Just once would I have liked to have worn spandex without an oversized T-shirt covering my ass. Running a marathon would have been pretty cool, too, except for the training and the vomiting afterwards part, since everyone oohs and aahs over that accomplishment.

Feelings…Yeesh, I actually express my feelings too much. At too loud a decibel. A filter on my mouth probably would have helped at times, because the meds sure don’t. I suppose my regret would be that I hadn’t kept my big yap shut during times I should have. (Examples: “When are you due? Oops.” and “If I could get away with it, I’d kill you.”)

Perhaps I’ll wish I’d stayed in touch with friends better, but a few really good ones dumped me for being a little black rain cloud, thus resulting in my belief that friendships are transient and fickle in general, so scratch that one.

Now #5 is a tough one for me to wrap my mind around, because happiness isn’t a choice for say, the clinically depressed. And many people choose to forgo their own happiness for the sake of others (like staying in a bad marriage for the children, or inviting the senile mother-in-law to come live with them.) This is called self-sacrifice, and will no doubt get you into a heaven where chocolate mousse and margaritas are calorie-free. Is self-sacrifice a bad thing? Depends upon how miserable you end up. If you wind up grandchildren-less or paying for your children’s therapy, because the kids are so jacked-up from your less-than-stellar union, or you keep sending your MIL out to buy milk every day in the hope that she won’t come home, that’s a problem.

Notice how nobody wished they had had more sex, or tried bungee jumping? I would have thought at least a few would have wished for better sex, or sex while bungee jumping. But that’s just me…

What’s your greatest regret so far?