Sunday, September 30, 2007

No Regrets

When we get older we do not regret the things we have tried or have done. We regret the things we didn't do.

When a friend was considering doing something she had always wanted to do, but had not, I quoted the above saying. Another friend, looking back at things she could've done and did not do, for the most part, is glad she didn't do them because she thinks she would have regretted them.

I agree that there are many things in a person's life that they may well regret if they do them, but I believe the quote refers to those things that we do not do even though we feel we will always regret it if we don't take the risk.

I have always made my decisions on that basis. I acknowledge that the chosen path may not work out, but if I don't try, I will always regret the road not taken. I also look down both roads as far as I can, contemplate both the best and the worst that could happen, and determine if I could survive the worst. The result is never the best or worst that can happen, but will probably be somewhere in the middle. If I feel that I can deal with the worst and still feel I would regret not acting on the opportunity, I jump into the deep end and swim like he**.

As a teenager, I knew an elderly couple who had lived a very full life, with all the trials and tribulations that come with such a life. In their twilight years, in the summers, they sat on the porch in their rockers, side by side until the sun set and darkness came. They would then go into the kitchen, light a lamp and make a snack before going to bed. They were not filled with regrets and bitterness. They were content. I want to achieve that contentment while waiting for the boatman.

My greatest leaps of faith have been to divorce an abusive husband, enter into a second marriage that no one expected to last a year, and drag my family, including parents-in-law, half way across the country to begin a life that would prove to be better in every way. I have not regretted any of those decisions, and I'm sneaking up to the rocker on the front porch with few regrets.

I wish such an ending to all.


Sophia said...

Thank you, Zareba.

I hope we can all make it to the rocker, but if we can't, I wish for everyone a great life in whatever time we have left!

Zareba said...

Good point Sophie, we do not all make it to extreme old age, but we can all live our lives in such a way as to have few regrets whenever the boatman comes.

Alexys Fairfield said...

Hi Zareba,
I have found that living with regret is like living with a poisoned heart. It is a slow excruciating death of everything that matters.

Make each day a new day and never let regret enter your heart.

Paul said...

Exactly. And even in cases where you try something and give it your very best but are overcome by adversities severe enough to prevent the success of your efforts - even this isn't possible to really regret.

Not having made the effort - that's what leads to second guessing oneself and wondering what the results might have been if you had.

Zareba said...

Hi Alexys:

Living with regret poisons all parts of a person's life. Nothing escapes the effects.

Yes, it is a slow painful death. For such people, dying is a process and living is an event. I prefer the opposite, living is the process and death is simply an event.

Zareba said...

Hi Paul:
So true. It is the not trying rather than the not succeeding that poisons our lives.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Zareba.

I've just recently broken up with a man I really loved but who was becoming emotionally abusing. I still find it really hard not to regret our break-up... I am trying to fight the poison of regret every day since! It's horrible how it eats up at your heart and makes you look all haggard.

I'm starting to think that I should stop fighting and just surrender, accept what happened, say it was for the best, and move on slowly.

I still miss him. I always will. He showed me beautiful moments that I will always treasure.

I guess these are the moments I will look back on in my old age and say "wasn't that beautiful, I'm glad I shared a bit of my life with that man"...

Sorry if this is kind of long and emotional!

Really like your blog, am going to keep reading a bit.


Anonymous said...

(PS: Just realised I wasn't the first Sophia to leave a note! Funny :) )