Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Find a Person with 'No Regrets' and You've Found a Liar.

I always hear people say that you should "live life with no regrets."

"I never regret anything. Because every little detail of your life is what made you into who you are in the end." --Drew Barrymore

"If only. Those must be the two saddest words in the world." --Mercedes Lackey

I've never understood why people say such things when they are obvious lies; and if not lies, than at very least, farcical.

Let me explain. Take Drew's quote up there.  She is saying something many people believe. Every choice you make determines who you are. You don't think she regrets an acting role here or there?  Sure, maybe she learned from her mistakes but that doesn't mean it wasn't a mistake. 

Don't like that stream of thought?  How about this.  Using that same quote, what if you are a terrible person? Mr. Scrooge anyone?  He changed eventually but he hurt a lot of people along the way long before that change ever took place.  Think he doesn't have any regrets? He could have changed lives long before he did, had more joy and love in his life if he had made some different choices.

That is why I don't believe anyone that says, "I lived so I had no regrets."  That's just lies!  There is no way you can do it.  I'm not saying that is a bad thing either.

If you live in a way so that you regret nothing you are living a life that is void of true passion. My view is that if you care about things, any things, enough to feel an emotion over them, then you are going to regret something along the road of life.

Sure, it's a movie but I see a little regret there with old Sean, Captain of the Red October.  He brought his best friend and 2nd in command on a hopeful voyage to make it to America.  His friend didn't make it. You don't think that once he made it safely to the shores that he had a little regret that he wasn't able to share it with his Bestie?

“I would alter nothing of the journey made for it is in this road travelled that the sweetest of lessons are learnt.” -- Truth Devour, Wantin

I don't see anything wrong with some regret.  It is a recognition that we are fallible, that we make mistakes, and that we can learn from those mistakes.  That is the beauty of what regret is.  It is a reminder to be better, to improve, to live.  As long as it doesn't become a burden, a weight. Don't let it negatively affect you.  THAT is what you need to take away from all this.  Regret is OK as long as it doesn't destroy you.

I have a few regrets.  One that comes to mind.  I had just graduated college.  I was working a little here and there.  There was this girl that I had a bit of a relationship with.  We weren't technically dating or anything but I really liked her.  She liked me too but I wasn't sure how much.

Anyhow, she was driving home to Oregon with her mom after school was finished and got in a terrible car crash.  She had broken her neck and was in a hospital in Idaho probably 5-7 hours away from me.  I got a phone call from a mutual friend explaining the situation.  I distinctly remember the place and time, where I was standing; it is vivid still.  I remember the feelings, the emotion, the decision.  I wanted to leave right then and go to her. I wanted to be with her.  I, I was in love with her. 

I talked myself out of such a crazy idea.  What kind of guy just shows up?  I don't know where she is exactly in Idaho.  I don't know if she can have visitors.  What if I show up and she is paralyzed?  I don't know if I can handle that.  What is I show up and she gets weirded out and ruins things between us.   I can't miss work.  It's a long ways away.

I was scared.

I didn't go.

I regret not going.

I am sad I didn't take the opportunity to express my love and concern.   I don't know what would have happened had I gone.
  • Maybe we would have fallen in love and gotten married and we'd have a family and I wouldn't have spent the last 10 years alone.  
  • Maybe she would have made it clear that things were not going the way I thought they could have. 
  • Maybe neither and we would have continued on as friends.
There is no way to tell now.

A couple years later we had a little long distance thing.  I had the best night of my life with her on a cool, moonless October night by a fire on a beach in Carmel.  There was a moment where I had everything I ever could have dreamed I wanted and I was completely satisfied with life.  That never would have happened had I made the decision to go.

I've had hundreds of great things happen to me since then that I am happy to have experienced.  I am also very aware that this decision, this regret I feel, will at some point go away. I'm going to meet someone that makes that night at the beach feel like a bad scout camp out in the snow.  You know, unless I die or something tragic like that. (God forbid)

It is fine to have regret, but don't LIVE with regret.  I don't.


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