During the last days of my pregnancy, I had some time to reflect on the life I've lived. For the most part, I was happy with what I've done, and even if I was wasted during much of my youth, I don't feel like I wasted that youth. I'm well-traveled, feel fairly accomplished, tried most of the drugs, had a very active "social" life, and in genera had a lot of irresponsible fun. Still, I've realized that there are a few things I wish I'd tried, and am slowly coming to terms with the fact that certain experiences are either must be put on hold indefinitely — or are completely out of the question — now that I'm a mother and need to put an end to any and all selfish impulses.
1.) I wish I'd gone to a rave.
My coming of age happened at the height of rave culture, but at the time I'd rejected it for two reasons, the first being that most of the people I didn't like from my high school were totally into it, and more importantly, I simply didn't like the aesthetic associated with ravers: The plastic hair extensions, the giant jeans, the inexplicable use of whistles as jewelry, etc. And I didn't like the music, although I hadn't realized at the time that drugs can make those beats so much more bearable. And I know that because I've done my fair share of Ecstasy. In fact, when I lived in London, it was way cheaper to buy three pills than to get drunk at a club. But now that I'm not nearly as self-conscious as I was when I was 17 or 18, I kind of wish that I could go to a rave and dress and dance and act like a total idiot in an atmosphere that completely supports that kind of thing. But, alas, being a raver isn't really very motherly.
2.) I wish I'd gone to Japan.
I've traveled all over the U.S., back-packed through Europe (during one particularly harsh winter), farted around Mexico (literally), honeymooned in Indonesia, and gambled at some of the best $1 tables at various casinos around the Caribbean, accompanied by my mother and some free white wine. But I've always dreamed of going to Japan, because I always sort of equated it with taking a trip to the future. I'm not really sure when it's cool to start traveling with a baby, but I can certainly say for myself that I don't want to take a 14-hour plane ride with anyone's screaming kid — especially my own. Plus, even if I didn't take her with me, it's super expensive and I'm going to have to put someone through college now.
3.) I wish I'd seen Celine Dion in Vegas.
Like an idiot, I'd missed out on her first residency in Vegas for A New Day..., and I have to admit that when she announced—just weeks after I discovered I was pregnant—that she'd be returning to Caesars Palace for another three-year stint, I was a little bit crushed. Will I make it there this time? Or will I be too busy to shirk my new responsibilities for a long weekend doing kitschy things in Nevada?
4.) I wish I'd applied to be a contestant on Big Brother.
Without a doubt, I think I have what it takes to engage in a three-month-long power struggle for $500,000. I've studied every season, have a strategy in mind, and am confident in my abilities to manipulate other people ( a skill I would most certainly need because, other than quizzes and puzzles, I'd suck at all the competitions). But there's just no way that I could leave my kid — especially a baby — for an entire summer. I mean, it was kind of a pipe dream to begin with, but now It just seems completely unattainable.
5.) I wish I'd owned a Mustang convertible.
I actually have never really owned my own car, because I didn't get my license until I was almost 18 (after getting caught stealing my mom's car and accidentally crashing it through the house), and then I moved to NYC just a few months later. I'd never driven a convertible before—and had actually only ridden as a passenger in one twice in my whole life—so last year, when my friend Rich and I went to Disney World, I decided I'd rent one. Even though I got some wicked sunburn (and a horrible seat belt tan line), I couldn't believe I hadn't been living like this all along. And I was totally surprised by my enthusiasm for muscle cars—I could make really sharp, fast turns with them without feeling like I could die, as I normally do in my husband's rickety old Toyota Camry. Even though the weather and the parking situation in Brooklyn isn't very amenable to convertibles, I'd decided that I really wanted to get one once I'd saved up enough money. Seeing as how convertibles and whipping winter temperatures aren't particularly kid-friendly, I think I'll have to wait about 18 years or so before I can finally get out of my dreams and into my car. Several months ago, while visiting Arizona, I rented another Mustang convertible. This time I got four speeding tickets, all through those camera things. So at least I have pictures of myself driving one.
6.) I wish I'd had a pet monkey.
I think it was the combined childhood influences of Michael Jackson and Pippi Longstocking, but I've wanted to have a pet monkey (preferably a chimpanzee) for as long as I can remember. And I always imagined that we'd communicate through sign language, just like in Project X. (I actually took American Sign Language as my foreign language in college as a step in the process of realizing this fantasy.) And he or she would wear corduroy overalls and we'd sit on the couch and watch sitcoms together and laugh and laugh. And if I couldn't reach something in my cabinet, my monkey would climb up and get it for me. If I suggested an idea that my monkey wasn't into, s/he would make a farting noise with his/her mouth to express disapproval. We'd argue sometimes, but that's just because our relationship would be kind of layered and complex. But monkeys are a lot of responsibility and I don't think I could handle it now. I mean, I guess my kid will be able to do a lot of the things that a monkey could do, but there's no guarantee she's going to be as fun as a chimp.
7.) I wish I'd taken topless photos of myself.
I've always been incredibly against taking nude photos—even before this digital/social media age—because you just never know if and when they'll turn up and embarrass you. But let me tell you something: Pregnancy and motherhood completely alters your tits to the point at which they are unrecognizable. By the end of my pregnancy, I had gone from a 36C to a 40E. My areolas started off as very light pink and darkened to an eggplant color. They were the size of salad plates. And my nipples have decided to point south, like someone who's hanging their head out of embarrassment and shame. Now I wish I'd taken a picture of my pre-pregnancy boobs because it's really hard to tip a 40 to their memory when I can barely even recall their former glory.