Thursday, July 17, 2008


I guess I have several of what I might classify as "major" regrets, which I've been collecting since at least as far back as 8th grade. Stuff I did and said that I wish I had just held back. Stuff I didn't do because I made the decision too fast, and then the moment was over, and it was too late when I figured out that I'd picked the wrong option. Stuff I couldn't make myself say because I was too scared. And then, when I come to my senses, I start worrying, because worrying is what I do. Perhaps the worst thing about regrets is that in some cases, the effects of the decision made at one time can stretch far into the future. I'll never know how that day, the next few months, that summer would have played out, if I'd made the decision as I wished I had.

The past is one thing that cannot be changed, though. So there are two questions that remain. One is pretty obvious, I guess: how do you avoid doing things you're going to regret? I doubt there's a foolproof tactic... however, I think there are a couple of useful steps: Take an extra moment to think before deciding something meaningful or critical, if the decision is being made on the spot. Maybe even more importantly, don't be afraid to go for something you really want. The second question is, what to do to "remedy" a regret? By habit I always go off analyzing the possible outcomes of whatever I did, but usually I don't get anywhere, I just end up driving myself nuts and thinking up bad results (which I hope don't actually happen). As I lamented to him about this regret issue today, Ryan told me: "A missed opportunity is a waste if you dwell and don't learn to correct how it makes you feel because of what you wanted." Well, first lesson is not to dwell, so I can definitely work on that, haha. Second lesson is to look ahead for another open door, or even try to create one, so this time you know the way you want to go about things. Of course this will all be much more difficult in real life than it is here in words...

And even though I've just thought through all of this reasonably and positively, it's definitely gonna take me some mental work to put it all into practice.


Rebecca said...

I once told on some kids in my first grade gym class because the teacher had to leave and they were throwing the ball all around. And then I got in trouble with them. I was just trying to find a teacher to watch us. I've regretted that for the past 15 or so years.


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