Regret

“What’s done is done.”  William Shakespeare

“Every second that you live you are never going to get back. You are never going to get to change what you said, didn’t say, did, or didn’t do. Live how you want to live. Act how you want to be remembered, because you never know how long or short you are going to be here.” Emily Doberstein

“We all do things we desperately wish we could undo. Those regrets just become part of who we are, along with everything else. To spend time trying to change that, well, it’s like chasing clouds.” Libba Bray

“Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.” Arthur Miller

“My dad used to say that living with regrets was like driving a car that only moved in reverse.” Jodi Picoult 

I’ve spent many hours pondering the subject of regret this week. Wondering whether, if I had my time over, I’d do things differently.

I believe I did the right thing on Tuesday, standing up for a friend. But I regret not giving more consideration to how the consequences would make me – and others – feel. And I wish innocent people hadn’t been caught in the cross fire.

Should I have tempered my words? Probably. Can I do anything about that now? No.

You live, you learn, you move on.

It’s led me to ponder other stuff I wish I’d done a little differently in my 44 years on the planet …

I’d have dropped the surly teenager act every time my great-grandmother tried to engage me in conversation.

I wouldn’t have kissed that 16-year-old boy with no front teeth at the school disco.

I’d have gone to see a dying man instead of putting it off.

I’d have skipped a few ill-advised bedfellows.

I wouldn’t have bought a quarter of a crumbling sandstone mansion during a nesting frenzy (then sold it at a loss three years later).

I wouldn’t have scrubbed the red wine stain on my friend’s new carpet quite so vigorously.

I’d have believed in myself more when times got tough.

I’d have remembered the tooth fairy was supposed to come last night.

And I’d have talked myself out of having another bacon and egg sandwich this morning.

But I’m trying to focus on the positive. Family, friends, health, home. I have all those things and I’m so very grateful for them.

What about you? Do you have any regrets?

9 thoughts on “Regret

  1. I don’t believe in regret. I’ve certainly made my share of mistakes – some more spectacular than others. But I’ve also learned from them and even the dud decisions I’ve made over the years have shaped who I am today. Had I taken a different path I’d be a different person, and there’s nothing to guarantee it would be an improvement.

  2. I love this post…
    I regret not visiting my estranged Dad as soon as I returned to live in Brisbane in May. I thought I had plenty of time, but then he died of a heart attack.
    I regret not asking my grandfather to teach me how to fish.
    They are my big ones, in addition to pretty much all of yours! I’m sure I could think of plenty more, but I won’t because it would be “like chasing clouds”… (I love that).
    Thanks for giving me pause on this sunny morning.
    BTW, our tooth fairy forgot a few weeks ago too. Doh! But then the next night she left a lovely letter which was so cherished it was taken to school for show-and-tell. So no regrets after all… 🙂

  3. Regrets are something we choose to carry or lay down. Some days I drag mine along like heavy burdens, the next day I leave them alone. I would love to have a formula for sending them off for good.

  4. So many regrets in my life too but mostly reflected upon in moments of self pity. I know I am a good person, as are you Lans. You did absolutely the right thing on Tuesday and you should feel proud of it. Very few people today have the courage to stand up for what we believe in and protect those we love and care for – easy to do privately but very hard to do in a public forum. What you did shows great courage, and a fundamental belief in standing up for the things that are not right in this world. It is your blog page, nobody else owns those thoughts. If we choose to read it and agree or disagree it is our choice and you should not be punished for that. You are a bloody fine journalist! Keep doing what you are doing. I believe in my heart that it will have been a large deposit in the karma bank account. I applaud you for the action you took. It is wrong on so many levels that you lost your job over it…..

  5. Sometimes there are dramatic consequences when we stand up for something we believe in. Yes, you’ve hurt a few, but I do believe that people also need to think of the moral consequences of what they publish. I have many regrets, but I believe that NOT standing up for your friend would have had deeper, longer-lasting regrets.

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