The photo is of three girls jumping off the edge of a pool at night — they’re holding each other’s hands over their heads, knees bent high like runners frozen mid-air. Above them in white cursive spells out the words, “No regrets.”
Tell that to the girl who — about an hour later — found herself explaining to the cops that they weren’t “breaking in to someone’s house” since the neighbor’s backyard is technically outside. Or to the girl who accidentally forgot that her phone was in her pocket mid-splash, the one who broke her toe upon landing, and the fourth girl who took said picture and knew this was a bad idea all along.
Such inspirational quotes should come with a warning sign. The platitudes you see on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr — it’s all a bunch of block-lettered BS that can result in year-long groundings, a trip to the doctor’s office, or jail.
Take one I just saw today, “Great things never came from comfort zones.” False. Lots of great things come from comfort zones: watercoloring. Lunch. Kittens. Laughing. Biscuits! You know what happens outside of comfort zones? A tiger bites your arm off. Yellow tape is there for a reason.
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” This is another popular one, similar to the above. In theory, it’s romantic. It conjures up images of men running through airport terminals to catch the women of their dreams before one-way flights to Europe; stoic mountain climbers with frosted ice on their chins held proud and high; someone finally speaking the words, “I love you,” even though her heart’s been badly broken. In reality, it’s a conspiracy against safety and common sense.
You know what scares me? Getting murdered. See the logic?
The quotes supposedly have good intentions: “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.” (Move forward with your life, be in the moment, focus on now.) But from a practical standpoint I have to question this rationale, because what about driving? If you don’t look behind you while reversing, you’ll crash.
I think that a large portion of these quotes were originally created by very eloquent pre-teens with no license in order to manipulate their parents:
“Mistakes are proof that you’re trying” might as well be, “Sorry for partying.” “Don’t be mad that I failed history.” “I didn’t know eyebrows should be plucked, not shaved.” Millennials sprinkle quotable euphemisms for their excuses throughout social media where Internet savvy parents pick them up, pin them, print them and stitch them on to pillows.
Meanwhile many of these quotes just sound completely insane.
“Forget all of the reasons it won’t work and focus on the one reason that it will.” Well, just because the skunk you “adopted” hasn’t sprayed you yet doesn’t mean it won’t.
“Sometimes life is about about risking everything for the dream no one can see.” Beautiful if the dream is something like, “World peace.” Not so much if the dream is, “Marry my imaginary friend.”
“What if I fall?” begins one popular print on Etsy that immediately answers itself, “Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”
Well, my darling, maybe I sound cranky. But don’t say I didn’t warn you about four girls, one cop, a pool closed for the fall and an extremely flawed policy about “no regrets.” I would have warned you sooner but I’m trying to not look back.