Regret – such a biting word.

During the past twenty years, I have grown into such a different person than I thought I would be. And although I harbor no regrets about this person I've grown into, I most definitely wish there were choices I had not made.

Regret lies in the choices we make or have made that result in an emotion of sadness or disappointment. The more I have analyzed the regrets I have, I have realized it is centered on the things I did not do. The things that I simply thought were too out of the box or too hard to control because my emotions were definitely more logical than my brain. The days I slept in instead of going outside and exploring. The times I didn't take a risk because I was uncomfortable or didn't know anyone. All of these, personally, are a result of an insecurity that lies within me.

The word itself is somewhat contradictory, seeing as when you regret, most of the time you end up regretting having regrets. I find myself often wishing I had a platform to apologize.

Everyone can relate to the constant self-doubt that comes along with being in such a trying time of life. There are things I wish I had done and choices I wish I had made to better myself as a person and cut others down less.

I regret the way I have treated people because of being insecure in situations; I regret the way I have made people feel by not considering others' emotions. Most of all, I regret caring too much about what people think about me because I have missed out on so many awesome opportunities in life. I have placed so much value on making everyone happy and in the end I have hurt others and myself.

We college students lose so much of ourselves in the hustle and bustle. We follow the status quo and try to "find ourselves" by joining groups that define us to others. Through all of this confusion, I have sacrificed self-confidence in order to make others happy. I lose belief in myself and never have alone-time to meditate on who I really am, not who those around me think I am.

This is not to say I regret the organizations I am a part of or the friends I surround myself with, because I wouldn't trade those things for the world. But through all of the things that were supposed to help me find myself, I lost part of who I truly am.

I do regret. I wish I had said yes to opportunities and relationships. I wish I said yes to all the right choices I didn't make along the way. But if my wishes were to come true, I would lose the learning and maturing that has made me who I really want to be.

I have many regrets that I cannot change, but I can better myself from learning from situations. There are so many things I wish I could say to so many people to fix what I may have done, or even just to justify my actions, but I will and am challenging myself. I want to say "yes" more and "no" less. Yes to the right and best choice for my future, not what sounds good at the moment.

I want to say yes to things I will look back on and think maybe it was stupid but it was so worth it, and I want to say yes to the right choice.

Although I lack regret for having new experiences, I do regret the ones I have never had.

Annie Blackwood is a junior in communications. She can be reached at ablackwo@utk.edu.