When you’re older and (hopefully) much wiser, you begin to think back on your life, especially within the recent 5-year period. The things you’ve done, the friends you’ve made, the bridges you’ve burned, and the journeys you’re yet to make.
I can only speak for myself when I say that my life has been full of regrettable decisions, which I can say I have somehow “forced” myself to live with to justify the artificial “correctness” of the same.
Dictionaries define the word regret in many different ways, but you will always find the words mourn, loss, miss, and sorry in practically every entry. To say that I have mourned the loss of or feel sorry for the decisions I’ve made would be a little more than accurate. Like: I regret having been in such sorry relationships. I regret having moved from a professional environment where I was perfectly happy, causing me to lose my professional spunk. I regret having given of myself to fair-weather friends. In short, there’s a long list of things that I regret having done. And in the same respect — not done.
But when the feeling lasts only until you’ve managed to pick yourself up, is that still considered regret? I’d like to think not.
August 13, 2010 remains to be a significant date for me. I decided to walk away from one such sorry relationship, whose core foundations were lies and betrayal. I remember it was Friday the 13th and on a whim, I drove to P&P in Bel-Air to get a very outward expression about the new life I decided I was going to live. A life with no regrets.
It’s been over a year since that (freaky) Friday, and I still struggle with myself sometimes. I make decisions with a lingering question whether this is something I am bound to regret. I also ask myself — is there supposed to be a conscious effort to live a life with no regrets? Am I really ready and/or able to live a life with no regrets?
I guess you can say that I’m one among countless others who tries to chalk everything up to experience. I’d also be one among many who will tell you that it’s not accepting defeat if you do. Knowing that I’m responsible for making my life a chaotic mess must mean that I am in control. In the short time that I’ve been trying, I’ve learned that going full speed ahead on life without regrets starts from learning to take things in stride.
At my age, I cannot tell you that I’ve been through hell and back. In fact, I think I’ve lived a semi-charmed life. What I can tell you though, is that it hasn’t always been pretty. Nor has it always been easy. I’ve had my share of the rough and tumble, and I like it. I like that I can burst my own bubble and tell myself to get my head out of the clouds. I like that I can give myself the gift of getting up and ridding my life of what I don’t need. I like that I’ve learned to roll with the punches.
My father is a very wise man of 52. He has and always will be the biggest voice of reason in my life. On my high school graduation, he imparted the most valuable lesson that my 17-year old heart absorbed more than my 5-year old brain did. “While it is important to better yourself and learn new concepts, it’s not as important as learning how to learn”.
To me, “learning how to learn” is exactly what “taking things in stride” means. When you “take things in stride”, you arm yourself with the power to deal with your troubles responsibly. You arm yourself with the ironic assurance that uncertainty is never a bad thing. In fact, it means you’re not stupid. You give yourself the opportunity to grow in spirit. You give yourself the gift of grace.
I have the answers to my questions. Is there supposed to be a conscious effort to live a life with no regrets? Yes. Am I really ready to live a life with no regrets? We’ll see. For now, I’m just learning how to learn.