“…regret clings to me like a sweat I cannot shift.” Alec in The Spanish Game by Charles Cumming
Being authentic means accepting regrets are an important part of life. I believe the regrets that are hardest to bear are lost opportunities. The unfinished business of the things you failed to risk is harder to live with than your mistakes.
One of my regrets that really lingers is my last interaction with my mother, just before she died. If I’d known it would be the last time we ever shared a meal I wouldn’t have barked at her to not steal the sugar packets from the little wooden container on the table. I shared my regret with my old friend Chris (she liberated my swearing skills in 9th grade Girl Scouts, not a regret) at my parents funeral.
Chris went with us for the meal after the funeral & she stole sugar packets in my mother’s honor at the same restaurant as my regret full encounter with my mom. She then mailed them to me in a card. My regret has attached itself to my smile of opening the envelope, even now in my memory. Though my impatience with my mother is not erased, I can bear my mistake because of Chris’s kind gesture.
Trying to live next year with less regret, means finding the courage to take more risks. As 2012 begins ask yourself what’s important to you? If you were to die at the end of 2012 what would matter to you? Move outside of your comfort zone. My husband begins ukulele lessons this January, what will you try?
I’m proud of the long list of things I’ve failed at. I was too scared of the horse to learn to ride. I did not fall in love with the spinning of the pottery wheel & slippery clay. My son & I took blues harmonica lessons together, then skipped the last class because we were both so bad at it. I’m a terrible dancer & lessons did not improve my ability. There are many things I’m bad at & I’m glad I found out. Trying is what matters.
The Huffington Post selected 18 of the Best TED Talks of 2011. Here is a link to #17, Kathryn Schulz for 16 minutes on Regret:
How do you know someone is manipulating? When they lack remorse or regret. What is the opposite of Regret? Acceptance & learning. Not having regrets is synonymous with being open to growing & learning, allowing the tweak of pain to influence you. No regrets means experimenting & pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.