Thursday, June 07, 2007

Susannah’s Regrets

It is said there are only two pains in the world: pain of discipline and pain of regret.

What, sadly, many people discover too late is that the pain of regret hurts far more. It’s a crucial role of parenting to make the connection between motivation and reward — the payoff of achievement. But the ’90s and ’00s have been all about instant self-gratification — the Playstation leaves a typical ’tween or teen no incentive to, say, devote years of dedication to learning a musical instrument. And because the Playstation (or iPod, computer, etc.) is typically not earned, the kid is done a disservice. It’s called being spoiled, and it’s a Western pandemic.

After adolescence it’s time to party. And have lots of sex. And at the age of 30 you begin to feel an overwhelming sense of regret. This is what Susannah is going through, and there are no easy answers.

It started weighing on Susannah’s mind back on Day 31: “...when I was younger I was always like, ‘Oh, Suzie's pretty; she doesn't need to study; she doesn't need to worry about those sorts of things’... And looks fade,” she confided to Nick. “...what have I really got to offer? I'm not really particularly passionate about anything; I feel quite shallow and like I haven't really led the sort of life I think I should've.”

Susannah and Thomas
“It’s time to go, Malibu Susannah!”

On Day 35, she welled up, and was comforted by adoring fellow mirror-kisser, Thomas:

Susannah: “I'm really scared.”

Thomas: “What are you scared of?”

Susannah: “I'm scared of going back [into the outside world] and hating everything, and feeling disappointed in myself.”

Thomas: “What would you be disappointed for?”

Susannah: “I just feel like I just whittled away all my time, because I just thought it would last forever, and it doesn't, and all of a sudden you wake up, and you're, like, ‘Oh my god, I'm 30, and what have I done with myself? Partied a lot.’”

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