A friend asked me earlier if I had any regrets in life. While I loathe the question, it never fails to make me think. And it’s funny, for the millions of regrets I have, one always rises to the top.

One day in college, at some point in my second year, I walked from my dorm room across campus to my 8am class. As I walked into a tiny little alley, between a parking lot and a building, I spied objects hanging from a tree overhead. They were cupcakes, and cupcakes of generous size at that.

At first glance, I could spot at least six of them hanging from the branches by ribbons. The frosting seemed to be quite intricate and in our school colors. Attached to each dessert was a note. I’ll never remember the exact words but the gist of it seemed to be a fun little greeting, enticing the reader to eat the unexpected bounty before them. I did not.

No, I simply shook my head and kept walking. I wasn’t going to take one, I thought, because it’s just not in my nature to trust cakes I find dangling from tree branches. I’m slightly paranoid by nature and would never be able to bring myself to consume it. I don’t regret that, at least. But I do regret not taking one.

I don’t know why, exactly. Maybe to show it off. I might run into whoever put them up there, maybe. Or maybe there was more to the cupcakes. There might have been something inside. I doubt it, but I’ll never know. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s the simple “what-might-have-beens.” All I had to do was reach up and grab one, look a little deeper into this mystery. But I didn’t…I just kept walking.

From that day on, it’s become the greatest example of every missed opportunity in my life. Every chance that comes along, every risk I don’t take, they always make me remember the time I passed up the cupcake tree.