I was five years old, and all I wanted in this world was a My Size Barbie.
I mean, seriously, what could be more desirable to five-year-old me?
She had a pretty, pink dress with ruffles and sparkles. She had long, flowing blonde hair. She had arms held wide open and a smile that invited you in for a cold, plastic hug.
And she was exactly my size!
What could be better?!
I had long discovered my affinity for dresses with, what I called, a “twirl factor.” My mom still tells stories of taking me into shops and watching me spin around to make sure the dress’s twirl height was to my satisfaction. No twirl, no tender.
I grew up with long, dark brown hair… in the state of Texas. Needless to say, I was surrounded by blonde kids who just seemed to have more fun, even at five. I thought it would be worth a try.
I was also an only child who was more than willing to spend an afternoon entertaining myself with imaginary play-things. Besides my friends at day-care, for all I knew, Barbie could be my newest and best playmate. Party on!
Don’t worry—I wasn’t a hermit kid. That last little bit was exaggerated for effect.
But seriously, My Size Barbie was the apple of my eye.
I just couldn’t get over the fact that she was exactly my size. You could even wear her clothes! For one day, if you owned a My Size Barbie, you could be a pretty, pink princess, just like she was.
Because, not to beat a dead horse here, she was exactly my size!
For the entirety of 1992, I begged for a My Size Barbie. Screw Tonka trucks you could drive yourself or Super Nintendo which was just becoming “a thing” or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which were overdone, even in the 90’s! All I wanted was that pink dress and that plastic smile.
But did I get one?
A year went by, and there was no My Size Barbie in the Timm house to be found.
The next year, when I asked for her again, I received a stunning realization. It was one of the moments of my childhood that was akin to learning the truth about Santa or the real origins of the Tooth Fairy. Once you know, you can never go back.
When I asked for a My Size Barbie at age 6, I was given this stunning truth:
She wasn’t my size anymore.
All the begging and wishing and hoping and dreaming and praying wouldn’t make her dress fit. All the whining and complaining wouldn’t turn back time. All the crying and the screaming in the world wouldn’t make me shrink or her grow.
Our time had simply passed.
Don’t’ worry… I’m over it now.
But for a while, I was inconsolable. I had missed an opportunity and would never get it back, no matter how hard I tried or how badly I wanted it. I regretted never getting a chance to play with a My Size Barbie.
Recently, I was talking to a friend about regrets.
I’ve written about regrets before. To see that full post you can go here. But at the core of the study of regrets is one major tenant—there are only two kinds of regrets.
There are regrets for things you did, called regrets of commission.
Then there are regrets for things you did not do, called regrets of omission.
Regrets of commission have a result and an outcome that you have to deal with. That sucks. But regrets of omission are particularly sinister, because they have no result and no outcome. Instead, they have a million “what if’s” and “if only’s” that we have to deal with. That sucks more.
Those can haunt you forever.
But I have a new theory about regrets. Specifically, one designed to keep us from experiencing those deceptive regrets of omission. One designed to empower us to take control of our lives and seize the opportunities available to us.
In honor of my obsession and resulting missed opportunity, I like to call this one the My Size Barbie Rule of Regrets.
The easiest way for you to avoid the greatest regrets in your life is to realize this—you will not be this size forever.
You will not have the same set of opportunities that lie in front of you right now, forever. You will not be at the same place you are in life right now, forever. You will not have the same amount of resources you have right now, forever. You may not even have the exact same support system—friends, family, coworkers, significant others—as you do right now, forever.
These things may be obvious to some, but what’s more obvious to all of us is how often we take these things for granted.
We say things like, “I’ll take care of that tomorrow” or “oh, just five more minutes” thinking that things will always stay the same. Thinking that tomorrow, or even five minutes from now, we will have the same amount of will power, determination, drive, passion, or persistence to do what we need to do—now! Thinking that our world won’t get rocked with something that changes our path or takes an opportunity away or makes us think twice about taking that chance or making that change.
It took me a whole year to grow out of the size for My Size Barbie, and the whole time I kept thinking, "maybe I'll get her tomorrow..."
But I didn’t have any control over that. I couldn’t go out and by myself a My Size Barbie. I couldn’t borrow one from a friend or make my own.
I was five!
But guess what?
You. Are. Not. Five.
You’re a grown-up. You’re a grown-up who has dreams. You’re a grown-up who has resources. You’re a grown-up who has friends, family, coworkers, significant others and even strangers at your side. You’re a grown-up who has this moment, right now, to do whatever you want to do.
Don’t let your life be a My Size Barbie Regret. Do the things you need and want to do now. Don’t wait. Don’t let one more day go by telling yourself, “someday.”
Make “someday” today.
Take chances while you still can. Take risks while the rewards are high. Take change and make it your own. Take your life and transform it however you’d like. Take this moment to become the best version of yourself.
Do it now.
Don't wait until you're too old to climb that mountain. Don't wait until you're too tired to travel. Don't wait until you're too busy to write that novel. Don't wait until you're overwhelmed with responsibilities to quit your job.
Don’t wait until you’re too big to fit into your My Size Barbie.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to chase your dreams.