Short sundresses, broken straps, shit-kickers, unbuttoned shirts over moistened-with-humidity skin, and swamp lands. This is the imagery with which I am left every evening when I listen to the platinum standard of old-world blues. Get on it, and start listening on-line between 8-10 nightly. Trust.
Now on to what I really came to say…
“I live a life of no regret.”
“There is no place for the word regret in my vocabulary.”
“I don’t have time for regret.”
Quite certain that at some point in my twenties, I held a world view which reflected the above sentiments.
I see it around me on a very regular basis; this sense that people run’round actively not regretting actions of the past and with a regret free preemptive eye on the future.
Thing with this is: If this is your mantra, then you have de-facto given yourself carte blanche to act as an asshole and walk away from it without second thought or lessons learned or entertaining that you may have behaved in a way unbecoming a human person among other human creatures.
Unless you are a sociopath, I’m not sure anyone should aim for this behavior. Tell me if you think I am foolish for thinking this, so that I might block your IP addy. Kidding!
Prime example — I wronged someone around a decade ago. I was rude and mean and behaved in a way which I regretted. I was younger, too proud to admit fault, and so was mean rather than open to the possibility of saying: I’m sorry. Every once in a while, I think about this situation with deep regret. Around a month back, I found this woman on Facebook and sent her an apology for my shitty behaviour because it really is never too late to say you were a complete nob.
Listen, I’m not saying that we should revisit every single action and choice made, and quicksand into eternal regret; maybe just our Top 3. I am also not saying that our vision should be anywhere but in the present. I am saying that regret in healthy doses is a necessary and adult response. Otherwise, it’s just another perverted way of eschewing responsibility and staying in a position of paralysis.
If approached sincerely and with an open mind to change for the better, it is often within the confines of regret that we learn who we would like to be, how we would like to behave, and subsequently change patterns to improvement.
Equally as important as wielding regret to our own self-awareness and improvement, is regretting the absence of things. More often that not, this comes up within the context of relationships and / or work related stuffs, with people regretting that they never made a move, never said anything, never let the other person know they cared for them, never took the job, never made a play.
Here, moving forward usually comes when we recognize and usually regret that we did not act and instead sat like a lump on a log and watched someone else make a grab for and win what we covet.
Also…some mistakes are too much fun to only commit once. Pay attention to those, too.
For those of you who have lived here on a regular basis, you know that 2007 was a definitive year for me. In fact, I can now say that 2007 may have been the most definitive of my wee little life thus far.
Every single day brings us face to face with a dozen mini choices; on some days, the choices made define the essence of our character. For nearly six months in 2007, I was facing choices that lent a hand to shaping who I was and what I stood for. Not one of those choices was simple or easy. Most definitely, not one choice made was made with a light heart. But, each one of the choices I made in 2007, I would make again in a heartbeat. Every euphoria and every trauma and every deception and every single point of me, I would relive and relive with an open and trusting heart.
Although many of the people who I met in 2007 are no longer a part of my life (nor will they ever be a part of my life), I will always cherish the time in which they were a presence in my days. Thankful and grateful, too. People don’t necessarily come into our lives to stay, but rather to help us and themselves reach another stage in our lives. They must leave because the lessons learned are ones that can only be learned once their presence is no longer felt.
That reality is only a sad and difficult thing to accept if you are not willing to see the good in every single situation.
If you choose to focus on merely the ugly and the painful, then you will not understand that at the essence of everything is goodness because you will be much too busy trying to make sense of a painting while standing with your nose pressed against it. Likely, you are more comfortable wallowing in how you have been wronged and how you are owed, rather than learning and breathing and living through the most difficult experience in order to improve who you are.
Likely, you live and then you regret.
But that’s not the way I have ever functioned and it is most definitely not the way I will ever function.
For this, I must thank and cherish Islam, because the foundation I stand upon is one of Faith and Belief, and that foundation demands that I be thankful for every single thing that comes in to and potentially leaves my life. As a Muslimah, I must believe that I am blessed – in fact, that we are all blessed by virtue of being alive – and not merely pay it lip service. That alone is enough. That alone is enough to teach me that 2007 is a blessing.
More importantly than that particular concept in Islam, though, is the other, and that is: we should fear nothing in this world but Allah.
I have one too many times seen regret lead to fear, trepidation and bitterness. I’ve actually watched as someone wallowed in their past and actively denied their present. Fear of committing the same mistakes over which they currently wallow. Fear of being hurt.
But here’s a little secret for you: you will always be at risk of getting hurt, so buck up and deal with it, already. Denying it won’t stop it, but it will stop you from evolving. Worse still is that it is a terrible way to waste a short and wondrous life, this living in fear.
Remember that in order to regret, you must emotionally pull yourself out of today; you press the pause button on right now and you instead turn your mind’s eye to yesterdays. (It’s like ‘nostalgia’, which is more often than not, merely another way of communicating your displeasure with right now.)
And quite frankly, you shouldn’t have time to do this because you need to concentrate on today. How and who you will help today. How you will improve today. How you are going to work today to make a better tomorrow. There is enough pain in this world for you to focus on, none of it having to do with your sad state.
Ultimately, “regret” is a means to self indulge and self spoil and many personalities are comfortable in that state. It is an irresponsibility that you level against your own potential and future. And just as you wouldn’t harm your body physically, so too should you never stand in the way of your own potential and motion forward.
Here’s the kicker, kitties (let’s get ready to shed our egos): We must believe that everything in this life happens for a reason and that reason doesn’t necessarily have to do with our life. Sometimes (and this you must accept if you perceive yourself as a functioning part of and contributor to the overall unity of society), we have to understand that we will go through traumatic situations for the benefit not of our self, but of others.
Crazier still is that we may never know how our pain helped someone else. And yet, we must accept it with open arms. (Odd this concept of altruism, n’est pas?)
But that takes strength.
And the question becomes: Are you strong enough?