Life is strange in that it doesn’t care about one’s plans. It’s good to have goals; in fact, it’s highly recommended in order to make it through the rigours of life. Someone without wants, needs and expectations will go through life without cause, without purpose. And there is no truer loss than someone going through life without purpose. But despite all these goals and purpose, life usually leads us down a path we likely never would have followed on our own. And this brings about a feeling that no person should ever allow to permeate in their soul: regret.
Regret is insidious, in that it once it’s permeated your existence, you tend to carry it with you for the vast majority of your life. It penetrates, soaks and influences everything you do and every decision you make, thereafter. And if you know anything about me at all, you know that I don’t like to be influenced. I’m stubborn enough not to want it, but wise enough to understand that it often happens without my even being aware. But I digress…
I written about this concept before but I thought it would be ideal to revisit it, especially in light of the fact that some of my topics will effectively need to start getting recycled as there is only so much room in my head for new ideas. The concept is to live your life without regret. This is not only a “should” concept but a “need to” concept. The reality is that regret serves no purpose except to cause suffering, which if you’ve been paying attention, is kind of my thing to eliminate at all costs.
For the average person, regret takes the form of choices they WISH they had made when the opportunity presented itself. One of the most popular I hear, is the one where people wish they could go back and change a pivotal part of who they are or a choice they’ve made. The problem with this is that the here and now, coupled with your experiences, is what makes you the person you are today. Should any of that be changed or altered, the very fabric of who you are as a person would be significantly different.
Let’s take a pretty common example, shall we? Imagine someone who works hard at their job, has a great partner and a couple of kids. This person may consistently say that if they could go back, they’d give themselves some winning lottery numbers. Can you imagine? It seems like a no-brainer, in terms of something one would change. But they say money can’t buy happiness… While this might be true, it can alleviate some of the financial burdens and concerns associated with daily life, which can ultimately lead to a happier one. It can also lead to a corrupt, materialistic existence where instead of that hard-working person who raised a loving family, you get a rich snob who knows that they can basically throw money at any obstacle in their way and don’t have to work at anything, to any significant degree.
This would develop two very significantly different people out of the same person; one who values life and one who’s blind to value. Still regret not wining the lottery? Yeah, me too. I really want to build a small “off grid” home outside the city where noise is non-existent and it’s solely “my” space. And maybe someday I will. The difference is that instead of regretting that I wasn’t born wealthy or won the lottery, I’ll achieve this goal by working hard at it, raising my own money and by the sweat of my own brow. This will drastically alter the value that I place on the accomplishment.
Maybe life would be easier if the path we were on were smooth, flat and straight. That’s a bit of a pot-shot at the local roads in Saskatchewan, where I live. It’s a pretty apt description of our highways but it would be easier in the sense that it would make it simpler to see where we’ve been, where we’re at and where we’re going. But this isn’t how life is designed. The road is meant to have curves, forks and rocky patches. This is necessary for one’s development into the person they’re meant to be. As I’ve come to learn, a smooth, straight road is pretty boring. There’s a better chance of falling asleep at the wheel.
Know that despite the curves and forks in the path that’s lead you here, you are exactly where you’re meant to be. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t work to fix something or change something that makes you unhappy. It simply means that these challenges are your bumps in the road; only you can choose to suffer the impact, or make your way around. Either way you choose will contribute to the overall experiences that build the wonderful person that you are. Don’t live life with regrets. It will serve no purpose and ultimately dwelling on the past will do nothing to repair it. Food for thought…☯️