Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mistake or Not: Can You Guess the Right Answer?

Rather than writing about why regrets are more painful than mistakes we've made, which several Pens have already written beautifully about, today I'm giving a QUIZ about my mistakes and regrets.

All of the items below might appear to have been mistakes. But were they really? Can you guess the ONE question where the answer is that this was a mistake I regret?


1. I bought a car because I loved it, even though I knew it was far from the most efficient or trustworthy car.

2. I spent the night in a sketchy Italian train station with my luggage straps wrapped around my arms so nobody could steal it if I fell asleep.

3. I dropped out of grad school, so I don't have a PhD I could have had.

4. I moved in with a man less than 6 months after we met.

5. I started taking my writing seriously in the year 2007.


1. Not a mistake. I wasted some money, sure, but I loved my VW Golf dearly, and wouldn't have done anything differently. Even with its seatbelt that broke repeatedly.

2. Not a mistake. True, I missed a train connection, but these things happen. I was backpacking with a friend at the time, so I wasn't alone. It wasn't the most comfortable night of my life, but it was one of the more memorable of months of traveling.

3. Not a mistake. It would have been a mistake to continue with the PhD. But I also don't think it was a mistake to start in the first place; I never would have had the opportunity to live in the fabulous cities of Seattle and Bath without this detour, and I did learn a lot about myself.

4. Not a mistake. 9 years later, here I am with the love of my life.

5. MISTAKE. Why hadn't I begun taking my writing seriously sooner? For far too long, I made the mistake of treating myself as a hobbiest with my interests related to "non-professional" pursuits. I tried out many majors in college, but it never occured to me that any art could be more than an elective. It wasn't until my late 20s that I figured out I could be a professional designer and photographer, and until my 30s that I realized writing novels could be more than a hobby I tinkered with. I may be making mistakes as I find my way, but I have no more regrets.

-- Gigi


Brenda Hyde said...

I was going to guess 5 because I feel that way too. Everything else I chalk up to life lessons and they all made me who I am:) I wish I had understood that my writing was something that was a part of me- not to be denied.

Sophie Littlefield said...

you know what gigi - if i had to vote for one most mistake-proof person that i know, it would be you. i love how you embrace your decisions and their consequences, and have learned to try to do that more myself from your example!

Unknown said...

xoxo :)

Gigi Pandian said...

Moonsanity, it sounds like you realize it now, so that's the most important thing -- we both just had to take our time figuring it out ;)

Sophie, it helps that I'm superstitious like Juliet and believe that if I'd done things differently -- perhaps "better" -- that I wouldn't have ended up where I am today, which is a pretty damn good place that I wouldn't have wanted to miss.

Rachael Herron said...

I love this post.

Anonymous said...

I'd have bet money you weren't 30 yet. My mistake!

Gigi Pandian said...

Mysti, I bet it that's lack of angst that I complain about -- good for avoiding stress wrinkles, but bad for writing enough emotion into my drafts ;)