Twenty-Somethings Share Heartbreaking Regrets In Photo Series

Dec 1, 2016

Brianne Larissa Charon holds the toast that her father was making the day he passed away from a heart attack
Credit Brianne Larissa Charon

We all have regrets. Things we should have done or said - and sometimes things we shouldn’t. It’s a part of life that we usually avoid talking about. Recent Western Michigan University grad Brianne Larissa Charon is breaking the silence with her photo series The Regrets of Twenty-Somethings.


"I received a call from my grandma about six years ago and I was too busy that day to call back. I was so wrapped up in my life. I was selfish in a way that I thought my life was more important than taking a few minutes to call back. My brother and I received the call the next morning that she had died in her sleep. A call that I should have made, that could've taken a few minutes but I didn't. I think about that day very often."
Credit Brianne Larissa Charon

The series will be on display at Fire Historical and Cultural Arts Collaborative as part of the December Art Hop in Kalamazoo.

Charon says it all started two years ago, when she was thinking about her biggest regret - not recognizing her father’s heart attack:

“Was playing video games in the other room, just like normal high school. And I had got this really weird feeling that I should go in the other room but…like I stopped for like 10 minutes and was debating going in the other room and I just didn’t and I don’t know why. And I heard a sound, didn’t think anything of it - just like house creaks all the time. And my other brother, Danny, actually came in the house and that’s when I noticed something in his voice where it was something wrong.”

Charon says her dad was watching a movie that she had recommended to him. She says that if she had watched the movie with him, she might have been able to call 9-1-1 sooner and save his life. The first photo in Charon’s series is of her, holding a piece of burnt toast that her father was making the day he died. 

All together there are 14 models in the series along with their stories. Like Charon, many twenty-somethings talked about losing parents and grandparents.

There are stories about past relationships and missed opportunities, as well as regrets about suicidal acts and depression. Charon snapped a photo of one 20-something who hid her addiction to sleep medicine from her parents:

“At the time of the shoot, her parents recently bought her that pill again. And she said that she wasn’t using it at the time and her parents didn’t know how bad she was addicted to it. But that she kept it to remind her of how addiction works and that she has an addictive personality and that she just has to be careful with what she does.”

"I’m 27 years old and I feel like I’ve done nothing with my life. I was in college and after a semester, I dropped out. I gave up the life I was creating for myself. I work as a factory worker, and I love my job but I am in a constant mindset of 'what if?' I feel like I just gave up a huge part of my life. I keep my ID to help remind myself not to give up on things."
Credit Brianne Larissa Charon

Charon says she wanted to take a photo of herself for the series, because she knows these aren’t easy stories to tell. 

But if we all have regrets, why single out twenty-somethings? Charon says she plans to extend the series to look at the regrets people have at different stages of their lives. Charon was in college, so she says twenty-somethings seemed like a good place to start:

“Someone who is 70 is going to have different regrets than someone who’s 20. But I was curious to know what twenty-somethings were. If they were like mine, if they weren’t.”

Charon says it’s easy for people her age to do things on their phones - like look up a word or use an app.

“But we don’t think about how easy it is to pick up the phone and call somebody and say that you love them and say that you miss them. But we don’t do that until it’s too late,” says Charon.

You can see Brianne Larissa Charon’s photo series The Regrets of Twenty-Somethings at Fire Historical and Cultural Arts Collaborative on Portage Street.

"I did a lot of stupid things when we first started dating that she didn't deserve. I always went behind her back and tried talking to other girls. It wasn't fair to her. Technology has a way of making things convenient, it was easy flirting with other girls. It obviously put a huge strain on our relationship, but I wish I hadn't have done it. I can't give back that time to her."
Credit Brianne Larissa Charon