Regret is defined as feeling sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity). Tonight someone told me one of their biggest regrets. One day I hope to hear the story of that regret, but it made me think of my own life.
I have long said that I regret nothing, bu that is not rue. It is simply rationalization that what has happened in my life, whatever I have done and said, whatever the consequences were or lost opportunities have been, they made me into who I am today. I am complicated and flawed, but I still like how I am, so to change anything in the past, would be to change who I am presently. And I would never want to do that.
Are there things that I would do differently if I had the chance? Absolutely. But that is not the same as regret. If I knew then what I know now…I would hug my mother a lot longer than I did that last time. And I would give her a glass of wine, take her outside and ask her those questions I wish I knew the answers to now. I would hug my Father so tight, and would not have rested that Sunday, I would have gotten up early and spent that last day with him. Because I did not know that it would be the last day. And I would tell them both that I love them, just one more time. Outside of those things with my parents, I can;t think of anything I would change really.
Then why do we regret? I don’t know. Maybe it is the every human trait of running all the what-ifs through our head. But would things have turned out any better if we had done things differently? We often assume that missed opportunities would have led to a better place, but would they have really? We never think that maybe if we had gone out with that other person, or made a different decision, or taken that job, or whatever, that maybe things would have turned out worse.
Life takes us on a series of unexpected twists and turns. I have learned that life rarely turns out the way any of us thought, much less planned. And that’s OK. Think of all the adventures we would miss if everything went the way we thought is was supposed to. We might have fewer regrets, but we would also not have the life we do not, or be the people we are.
Mostly, I like my life and even the bad spots have made me into a better person. The key is to realize that things happen for a reason and have faith in that process. I am whoever I am supposed to be, right at this moment. I am were I am supposed to be, right at this moment. Those bad times – the mistakes, the missteps, mishaps and failures have all taught me important lessons. They have all been a part of a life well lived and well loved.
Truth be told, I am a risk taker, and there are few times when I have not taken the risk. And I have never regretted the risks I have taken, even when they were mistakes. But if the mistakes you have made turned you into the person you are now, can they really be mistakes? Maybe not.
So live more and regret less. Life is short, take the risk. Make the call, take the job, travel to that place, do what it is that you really want to do. We must know that in our hearts, we did the best we could with what we knew or what we had. And most importantly, we must forgive ourselves to let go of the regrets.