Friday, March 14, 2008

Regrets, I've (never) had a few

Regret: n. a feeling of responsibility for wrongdoing
vb. to feel sorry or dissatisfied about something, often with bitterness or grief.

My friend Susan over at Toddler Planet posted this about her one regret in life. And it got me thinking about regrets in general.

I have always held to a "no regrets" philosophy. It was never a conscious decision to not look back but more of a happiness with where I was. Victoria Holt summed up my credo best when she said,

"Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience."

I have always felt that I am where and who I am this day because of all the decisions I've made and actions I've taken in the past. To regret one of those would be to wish myself a different life than the one I lead today. And that is certainly something I wouldn't change. I don't really want any do-overs.
I've never regretted a death. Sure, I wish I had more appreciation for my Dad while he was alive, but I was barely 14 years old. "Unappreciation" is pretty much part of the package at that age. So I don't consider that a regret because I don't wish to change it. I've never regretted a break up (at least not once the pain dulled). Life happens. Each event in my life has moved me in a direction which led to the next event and so on and so on. To change one seemingly insignificant event would have changed the entire course of my life.
Take for instance, my decision to leave my old job in the grocery store (Retail Clerks Union used to rock!) to take this job working for the CA National Guard. Until I began working for the Federal Govt I had never held a job for longer than 2 years. I had no reason to expect that this one would be any different. I certainly never would have guessed I'd still be working here 18 years later. More importantly, if I had not taken this job I would never have met a co-worker who became my best friend for a number of years. Which, in turn, would mean that she never would have introduced me to her brother-in-law, Daddy-O.
One small decision. Perhaps Daddy-O & I would have met some other way. Perhaps not. Our reversal of our earlier decision to only have one child brought us D, blind from birth. Life altering? Certainly that, no doubt. Ha. But regret the decision to have him? Not on your life! He brings me more joy on his worst day than I ever deserve.
There is not one thing I would have different in my life today, therefore, no regrets.
Maybe, though, that is just a colossally arrogant position to take. Katharine Hepburn said,
"I have many regrets, and I'm sure everyone does. The stupid things you do, you regret... if you have any sense... And if you don't regret them, maybe you're stupid."
Maybe I am stupid. Maybe my stance is too black and white.
There are two things I would not do the same way if I re-did them. But I don't know if I'd call them true regrets because I don't feel like I wish to go back & change them. Yet after the last couple years of battling cancer & it's financial aftermath,
I would be kinder to people that I am not fond of - less snarky. And I would be more budget-conscious with my finances.
No need to regret those two missteps, though. I'll just make another small life-altering decision to change my ways...


Stimey said...

I love your Victoria Holt quote. Great post.

sarah said...

Well, if that makes you arrogant than so am I. I have always held the exact same philosophy. But I also look at it this way: Are there things I might change if I could do over? Probably. But "regret"? Nah - Why would I waste the time I've got now by lingering about what I wish were different - when it simply can't be. THAT would be the thing most worth regretting.

Life - you just have to get on with it.

Imstell said...

Another item to list under the "Same" category, Sarah? We're really rackin' 'em up!