Regret

Southern writer and Alabama forester Ray Clifton writes about thankfulness and regret in a recent blog post. He is very talented.

And he got me to thinking. But let’s look solely at regret.

I regret almost the entirety of my life before age 50, so many things I wish I’d done differently and/or better. Yes, a half century of wrong.

Oddly, I do not dwell on it. That’s probably because things have improved so much since I turned 50. Regrets over the past 18 years are few and trivial.

I regret not putting double sinks in our downstairs bathroom and not running propane lines inside the walls of the Hacienda for heating.

But the regrets from my first 50 years have nothing to do with sinks and heat. They have to do with the head and heart. I did it all wrong.

Perhaps this is why I want to believe in reincarnation.

Give me another chance, will you? I’ll do better next time. Promise.

20 thoughts on “Regret”

  1. Whatever you did, it got you to where you are now. What’s wrong with that? A different decision would have taken you somewhere else!

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    1. Carole: Two things got me to where I am now. The first was not my decision, but the second was. My wife dumped me in 1995, and I quit drinking in 1996. I never drank a lot, but I did it daily. It affects everything. Had she not did what she did, I’d still be where I was then, stuck in stupid inertia. Now that really would have been a rotten shame.

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      1. That’s what I mean. All that random activity counts toward ultimate destiny! You definitely would be somewhere else without what has happened. It’s a good thing!

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  2. An attitude of gratitude minimizes regret and forgiveness cancels it out completely, including self-forgiveness. I try to focus on the here and now and to accentuate the positive. I regret that I have almost no regrets, just fond memories.

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    1. Andres: I am quite grateful now, and I have no one to forgive, not even myself. You are lucky that you have few regrets and lots of fond memories. With me, it’s just the opposite, but that was then, and now is now.

      Now is good.

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  3. I was thinking along these lines today, interestingly enough. I don’t regret anything I ever did except perhaps where I might have hurt another. That’s because I like how I feel now about life, and I like what experience (and reflecting on the mis-steps) has done for my ability to deal with the lousy stuff that comes along and to be content with what I’ve got. I wouldn’t have gotten to this relatively calm and peaceful place without having made the mistakes.

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  4. The regrets I have deal with favors that were asked, well within my power to grant, and I said no. Oh, and not buying silver at $3.20 a troy in the ’80s.

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  5. I appreciate my life. If there were any regrets they just opened up my eyes to enjoy more of what life has to offer. So, none.

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  6. Hmmm…the comments seem to confirm my contention that most people live with only a smidgen of regret. You and I will have to bring up the average, my friend. Both in our first 50 years.

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  7. My husband doesn’t really look back. He says that decisions in the past were made with the best information and effort at that time. His father was commenting about his first wife, saying he had made a mistake in marrying her. So I suppose regret is just a part of life. Some days are better, some not so.

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    1. Shelagh: Your husband is correct, I imagine. You made decisions in the past based on the information at the time. You also make them — or not — on emotions, which can be harder to recognize. I think we frequently do not know our motivations.

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    1. Ms. Mommy: I lose no sleep over my decades of regret. But it’s there, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I feel good these days, but not quite so good this year as I felt the first 11 years after my move below the border. Don’t know why. Been a strange year.

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  8. My father had regrets. They consumed him. He left when I was one. I met him when I was 18. I was in the army on an NCO course at Work Point Barracks in Victoria. He wanted to make amends. I said there was nothing to mend, what was done was done. Over the years, he strived for a relationship, right up until the day he died. He cried a lot, his wife said. I visited when I could. He was my father, but in name only. I learned to hug my kids, tell them at every opportunity that I love them. I have regrets, but they don’t consume me. Years ago I deleted four words from my vocabulary, Wish, Could’ve, Would’ve, Should’ve, they all mean “didn’t.” Each day is a new day, and a new beginning and an opportunity to do better.

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