What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word – regret?
When I think of the word “regret” it leaves me with an uncomfortable feeling and I don’t like it. There are lots of things that I could say I’ve regretted in my life; guys I spent too much time with, not going back to school, switching jobs, moving, marrying some people, suntanning, taking risks with my health…
My first recollection of this feeling of regret was when I was in Kindergarten. The teacher used to occasionally choose a child to accompany her to the little store near our school during lunch hour. It was a great treat because the one on one time with the teacher made the kids feel very special and she used to let them choose a candy too. She was going to ask me to join her one day when another child cried that it was her turn to go. So she took out a coin and asked us to choose heads or tails. I chose tails and when she flipped the coin it landed on heads. (I always choose heads now) I remember the deep disappointment I felt at that moment and this uncomfortable feeling that nagged at me for a long time as I kept thinking “Heads! Why didn’t I choose heads!!”
But then I remember that all of those things that I regret are also things that helped mold me into the person that I am today. All of it has made me into “me” and I am actually grateful for them…now. (Except for the suntanning)
Tracy’s two cents~
I agree with Bonnie, if I have regret for anything that could have been a life altering decision then I wouldn’t be the person who I am today. If I had married someone else I wouldn’t have the unique friendship that I have with Scott and I wouldn’t have my kids who are incredible little human beings! If I had chosen to follow my career instead of being a stay at home Mom, my kids and I wouldn’t have the relationship we have today so there is no regrets there.
Lets look at the little things in my life I might have had regret in doing. Pulling the wad of gum out of my hair without looking to see how big it was and having a bald spot for months afterwards…obsession over a guy who wasn’t really worth it…I have regretted pressing ‘send’ on occasion. I will just leave that one ‘open’ for interpretation. I regret eating the plate of brownies between yesterday and today but then again I could really go for one right about now with a glass of cold milk…I ran one of them off today… I regret not checking or looking back before winding my daughters head up in the window of the Jeep…ouch! Now I am going to have bad dreams! How about it Jake? Anything juicy that comes to mind?
I don’t think regret is necessarily a bad thing at all. There are many things I regret like not finishing my degree when I had the chance (then again, I believe it’s never too late so I could do it now) and not putting enough effort into keeping up my friendship with Nancy when she moved to the island. I also regret not saving my journal from my trip to Europe when I was 18 and losing all the great addresses I’d collected now that I have more time to travel again. I’d have a couch to crash on in every corner of the world!
Let’s see, what else do I regret. Well, I don’t think tiling the upstairs bathroom in a mish mash of funky colours was the best idea when it comes to resale. I regret not jumping into the Okanagan waterfront real estate market when we had a chance to buy something with a group of friends years ago. That little cottage on the lake is now worth 5 times the price and is virtually untouchable. Sigh. I could go on and on but I’m starting to feel woozy with all the time travel rehashing of things I’ve come to terms with at some point in my life. You can be sure that for everything I leave on the page there have been 10’s of things I’ve selectively chosen to omit : )
I think there has to be a distinction made between feeling regret and feeling guilt, as both of these concepts have to do with actions from your past. Guilt isn’t a healthy emotion and it can eat away at your soul until you find a way to resolve your issues. Once you do that it turns into a regret and you can learn something from the experience. Healthy people feel regret all the time. OK, I’m just talking about me here so if you remember this is all from my perspective you can either agree or scoff. C’est ma vie.
When I start to feel the uncomfortableness of regret creeping into my brain cells I take out my oils and paint. Or go for a walk. Or call a friend and go for a walk! Works every time.