Regrets

Front1As Lucas says in one of the early scenes in Empire Records "I do not regret the things I have done, but those I did not do."  Yeah, that’s how I roll.  I wouldn’t call it my motto, but it has been a theme throughout my life and not even a conscious one, I guess it’s just the way I am.  Sure, I’ve made mistakes.  In fact, I’ve done some really stupid stuff in my time, but when it comes down to it, it’s all worked to shape me into the person I am right at this very minute and, frankly, I’m happy with my life.  How can I regret something I should be so thankful for?  The trials, the tears, the struggles and the frustration were an easy trade-off to be in the place I am right now, a small sacrifice for self-knowledge and awareness.  That’s great and it’s all fine and dandy and oh so insightful, but really it doesn’t begin to touch on the complexities of the word.

regret |riˈgret| verb ( -gretted , -gretting ) [ trans. ] feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, esp. a loss or missed opportunity) : she immediately regretted her words | [with clause ] I regretted that he did not see you. • used in polite formulas to express apology for or sadness over something unfortunate or unpleasant : any inconvenience to readers is regretted | [with clause ] we regret that no tickets may be exchanged. • archaic feel sorrow for the loss or absence of (something pleasant) : my home, when shall I cease to regret you!

To take the definition one step further and to bring it all back to what Lucas was saying in the movie, sometimes our regrets are not the act of ruing past errors, but rather wondering how things might have turned out if we’d only done them differently, those I did not do.

It’s funny that this should come up as a Blog-Off word as it’s a topic that has been on my mind a lot this year.  Until a few months ago, I was living a blissfully ignorant existence, fully brainwashed into thinking that I’d always made the right decisions for myself.  It wasn’t until a conversation I had at Christmas that I realized that maybe I wasn’t being entirely honest with myself.  It might be my age or the length of time that I’ve spent at my job, but I’ve started to feel restless and that has manifested in around the clock fantasies about what might have happened if I’d made different career and education choices.  Am I disappointed with what I do?  No, I’m not.  I’ve just been wondering what might have been, where I’d be now, who I’d know…

I’ve come to terms with it, I do wish I’d done some things differently.  There are a million situations when I wish I’d not allowed myself to be so shy, too many chances to say the right thing that I let slip by, any number of times I wish I’d stood up for myself more.  I don’t regret any of the relationships I’ve had, however much I might wish I could change the way I handled the smaller parts of them.  There are a few people I wish I’d told how I truly felt about them, good or bad.  All in all, it’s nothing too severe, no matter how heavy it can feel in the moment or realization. 

It has occurred to me while writing this that distinguishing between regrets about the things we’ve done versus those we haven’t is like splitting hairs.   Honestly, is there really any difference???  The only contrast I can see is in our attitude towards each, the emotions that are tacked on at the end.  To look back and wish you could take things back just seems so disingenuous while reflecting in fantasy (which is essentially what you’re doing when wondering how things could have been) is harmless.  That’s my view anyway, however simplistic.  I suppose I should just be happy that after 32 years, I don’t have a single thing to sit here and stew about.  I guess that’s pretty good.

I’ll tell you the one thing I do truly regret.  That whole Spin Doctors phase.  What was *I* thinking??

I’ll tell you what I will regret… having to rank the Blog-Off posts in the coming weeks.  As we’ve started to say good-bye to some really great blogs in the last couple of weeks, I’ve felt worse and worse about making my rankings.  It’s not easy, let me tell you.  We said goodbye to Erin at Blaaahhhg.  That news was a heartbreaker.  Trust me.

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8 Responses to “Regrets”

  1. C~ Says:

    Wow. You and I are pretty much on the same page this week. I am hating the rankings thing…especially when someone has to go away. *sigh*

    On the Portland post…I am annoyed I have no one to sit and sip and play GFY with…I love those girls. They crack me. I was done with my final final exam last week…chatting with the Prof and a big girl…bigger than me, so i can totally say it…bent over to gather her books…OH!!! Some folks do NOT need to be wearing the low pants/high thong combo. I gasped and said “Oh, man…I am damaged now.” in front of my Prof, who tried hard to be PC and not say anything, but dang…

  2. jan Says:

    I love the Frank Sinatra/Paul Anka line: Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again too few to mention. So they don’t

  3. jan Says:

    I love the Frank Sinatra/Paul Anka line: Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again too few to mention. So they don’t

  4. flap Says:

    I’m with you. Why bother with the regrets? Things happen for a reason and it all shapes us into who we are. I have done countless stupid things and made what could be percieved as bad choices, but it all turned out pretty damn good for me. I have a great life and loves around me. I know who I am and who the people are that I want near, so how could I have any regrets?

  5. Evey Says:

    Man did I struggle with this word. Like you couldn’t tell by all my bitching today.

    –regrets about the things we’ve done versus those we haven’t is like splitting hairs. Honestly, is there really any difference???–

    There is no difference, in my opinion anyways. Regrets suck no matter which way you put it. But like I said in my post its how you choose to deal with them and move on that defines them. I dunno, perhaps I am talking out of my ass. lol

    I really really loved this post. I promise I did. I wouldn’t lie to you. I find the posts that you hate the most are the ones that stike a cord with me. Funny how that works hey?!

  6. Courtney Says:

    I agree. Most of what I regret isn’t what I’ve done, but what I haven’t done. You’re also right in that there isn’t much different. I wish that I hadn’t been so shy. I wish that I’d been more outgoing. Same thing, but one I did do and one I didn’t.

  7. Kristin Says:

    Great post, Carly. I have to say, I do have regrets. I made choices in my life that I wish I had not. And though in some cases I gained wisdom from those choices (like the terrible relationship I had right out of high school) there are some choices I made that did not bring anything but trouble. Those choices I would take back if given the chance. I wish I wasn’t so shy too. If I could find a way to change that about myself, I would in a second.

  8. Vegas Princess Says:

    Wow, you and Evey both are stepping ti up a notch this week. A fabulous post and it really made me think. And I love that you used an Empire Records quote, I lve that movie.

    I tend to regret paths I never took…and then I dwell on them until I make myself crazy. I don’t request anyone to do that…it just isn’t very productive.

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