Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Your Biggest Regrets....Part One

For new readers, please click here to follow this journey from the beginning.

People of the world tell me this - what is your biggest regret? And have you done something about it? I love this song by Florence and The Machine. I'm singing it right now. I sound rather delightful, however sadly I find myself without a camcorder.

Her opening lyrics sum up regrets rather perfectly:

Regrets collect, like old friends,
here to relive your darkest moments,
i can see no way, i can see no way,
and all of the ghouls come out to play,
every demon wants his pound of flesh,
but I like to keep some things to myself,
i like to keep my issues strong,
it's always darkest before the dawn.

Thank you, Florence. You're a fucking rockstar. (Clearly.)

The official definition of regret, as outlined in Webster’s dictionary, is as follows: “The emotion arising from a wish that some matter or situation would be different from what it is. The emotion may be accompanied by sadness, remorse, disappointment and dissatisfaction and may arise from something done or said or from some failure to do or say something.”

My definition? It’s a little shorter. It’s those moments I wish I could take back.

There are times when I wish I would have been a different me…the me who knows more now, not the me blinded by my insecurities, or the blitheness of youth. The me who would have done things differently and made better choices. We all struggle with the meaning of having choices, and the potential pitfalls of this incredible gift called freewill. For this reason, we need to be intelligent in our choices, be intelligent with our words and intelligent through our actions. Before we say or do anything, we always need to picture the next scene. Who will it impact? What will it bring? What are the potential consequences of our actions? And most importantly, are we prepared to live with them?

One of my favourite statements is from Joan Didion, and it goes as follows:

"I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. on a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were."
I love me the Joan.

Regrets? I've come to realize that every once and a while, they'll call upon you like an old friend.  "Hey, you. Remember me? I'm still here." And time will fold in on itself and you'll be standing there, encased in that feeling, that remembrance you've tried so hard to erase. "I've moved on..." you'll say..."Can't you do the same?" But they can't, you see, because they're wrapped up in you. The betrayals, the screams, the heartaches, the demons...they'll scratch at the walls of your existence if only to make a mark that they were there. You gave them life. Only you can bring them peace.
Here forthwith, are your biggest regrets. Part One.

Not taking care of my body.

I should have learned how to say no sooner.

My biggest regret is stomping all over the heart of my greatest love, and totally giving up on love. I felt like I HAD to give up because I made huge mistakes. I am not sure what took over, it could have been my ego, peer-pressure, ideologies, immaturity, or worst of all the lack of the ability to love and care for someone. I actually refused to do anything constructive about it at the time. What I did do was try to run away from my mistakes and quickly move on with my life. It did not work. I pretended to not have regret for a long time. I ran and hid, but now the Regret constantly (weekly, daily) catches up with me. I was so cruel and emotionless towards him for so long and I hurt him so deeply, that the reciprocal pain within me is seemingly everlasting. If I could pass on a lesson to anyone it would be to never hurt someone you love! It will change your life forever if you do, and it will be a horrible feeling like a bad stomach ache or a lump in your throat that never goes away.

Not taking the time for a proper honeymoon. You only get one shot at this so take it, don’t put it off. You don’t get that excitement back.

Wasting valuable time in University in a relationship, when I should have been enjoying being young and learning more about myself.

Not spending more time with my Grandparents.

Deleting emails my Dad sent to me when we were on our honeymoon…he died right at the end of that. So I never got any more emails from him. I’ve tried to stay grounded to his tone in my day-to-day goings on, but I also find myself latching onto other father figures who share his tenor.

In 1994, I was in Switzerland and I wanted to buy a Swatch watch (it was the 90’s…what can I say?). But by this point in my travels, I was on a super tight budget and figured I couldn’t afford it. So I walked out of the shop without my watch and I have always regretted it. Always. It was such a little thing that would’ve been paid off 100 times since then. Once I got home, I was kicking myself and I realized that opportunities are presented so I can take advantage of them (in one way, shape or form). Now, when I’m travelling and see something I can tie a memory to, I’ll buy it, doesn’t matter the cost (this is why God created LOCs). I’ll always be able to make money to pay it off. I haven’t been back to Switzerland since, but I will go back and get my watch.

Not going to journalism school. I regret it but wouldn’t change any of the decisions I’ve made along the way. I’ve found ways to explore that creative side and develop my writing skills. And I know that I will have time to do more when I’m ready.

Not spending more time with my second son, who was troubled and I didn't understand. Yes, I have found common interests with him and I learned to understand his difficulties.

Coming home at the end of a work day and having my beautiful children to see the worst of me – the tired, stressed out Mom. I rearranged my life and priorities with much help – my illness was definitely a catalyst for change but not everything. I’ve since apologized to my kids for those times.

Being consumed by jealousy and low self-confidence. I have overcome these emotions but I feel like I wasted the best times of my life, back in my twenties.

Not believing in myself. I have finally come to realize my own self-worth after many years, but wish it could have come much earlier in life.

Not being more patient with the hormonal teen I parent.

I can’t think of anything, so I must say I haven’t been dwelling on it. I do wish I didn’t worry so much. I suspect worrying is a waste of time for most things.

Playing church music at my sister’s funeral instead of the music she loved; the songs from our childhood – songs of meaning in her life. No redo on that one, unfortunately.

Not sure.

My biggest regret is not asking him out back when I was younger. Yes, I’ve done something about it – but it probably wasn’t the right thing to do.

Not standing up for myself. I somehow always believed that if I didn’t pick a fight, those around me would simply “realize” they were hurting me. They never did. It’s a work in progress, but I try to be brave enough to say it out loud when I feel wronged. It doesn’t seem to change others’ behaviour, but at least they can no longer pretend they don’t see what they’re doing.

Not pursuing a profession in the medical field. I have not done anything about that.

Not drinking until I was twenty-one…seriously, I didn’t realize how fun it can be. Have I done something about it? Yup, started drinking.

Not telling the bitch of a softball coach in Grade 5 that I did have the right to play softball. If I ever run into her, I will tell her now!

Worrying to much about getting ahead and keeping my house clean, instead of spending more time with our daughters when they were still at home. I’m now trying to spend as much time with them as possible – probably driving them crazy!

Not going on more hot winter vacations when we were younger.

Not continuing with my writing career. Every once in a while I make a half-assed foray back, but find I can’t summon the determination to keep it up as a living.

Not talking to my Dad the day before he passed away.

To be continued.
Incidentally, this is a photo of me, washed in regret...

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