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To regret or not to regret… that is the question.

March 27, 2011

I have no regrets! No seriously! Yes I have done some stupid, dangerous, hurtful, immature and ridiculous things. I have made some bad, bad decisions that I never want to repeat, but I regret them? Nope not at all.

Recently I was the target of some nasty name calling on a message board that I have been a member of for at least 5 years. At first I was told that I am shallow and thoughtless, and that a mature person would have regrets. I, of course, disagreed. One of the quotes I try to apply to my life is by Asha Tyson who said

“Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it need to be. Don’t think that you’ve lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. and now is right on time”.

Reflecting on this has often reminded me that I would not be the person I am today with out the decisions I made in the past.  Coincidentally, the same day I saw a facebook update from Alex Lickerman’s Happiness in the World entitled “The Faulty Premise of Regret” (see my BlogRoll for a link). As always, Alex makes some very valid and thought provoking comments. Towards the end of the article he says

“Had you made that other choice, how could you really know that, as a result of several subsequent choices and events, you wouldn’t be suffering even more?  You may pine for the life you think you’ve left unlived, but that life not only never existed, it almost certainly wouldn’t have existed the way you imagine it.  Think about your life today:  does it exist now as you once predicted it would?”

Does it [my life] exist now as [I] once predicted it would?

Well… ummm… HELL NO!!! I really don’t remember much from my early childhood but as a teenager I knew I was going to leave school and take over the family farm, stuff my brother this was the 90s and I was the eldest. A monumental family feud and the following  move from the farm put an end to that dream.

After failing high school (which of course I don’t regret) I moved to Germany as an aupair… my plan for my life then was to travel forever and marry some gorgeous european man. But ultimately, in those days of letters and a weekly phone call, I came home after a year to study to become a teacher. Did I plan to become a teacher? Nope, it just kinda happened.

While at uni I met my first husband, my second ever boyfriend (good little Catholic girl I was) we built a house, got married and were married for about 7 years. My dream then was to be promoted in my job and then start a family! It didn’t happen. I had a breakdown and we got divorced. I don’t regret marrying him, I loved him very much and I still do. I’m just not in love with him. It was sad, I hurt him so badly and unnecessarily but that can’t be changed, I can’t go back and do it again so I just move on and try to make better decisions in the future.

Rather than allow ourselves to wallow in suffering over what might have been, we should strive to remind ourselves the grass only ever seems greener, and that there’s always much to enjoy (and over which to suffer) in any and every circumstance.

So.. No I don’t have regrets, well nothing more than a short term or fleeting expression of sorrow or wishing I’d shut up. Generally I chalk it up to experience and move on! Life is too short to wallow in regret!!

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