Friday, December 4, 2009

Regrets, I've Had A Few

Regrets are one of those things, which like sand fleas in your swim trunks, can keep you up at night, scratching. And sometimes, you draw blood. I don’t just mean having regrets about deeds undone, but those that you have done too. How many times have you berated yourself for not being brave enough to say what was on your mind? And how many times have you chastised yourself for ruining a good thing? And what if you ruin something through no intention of your own (I won’t say no fault- we all have those, and they interfere in our lives in inconceivable ways) but what if you just….weren’t enough, didn’t know enough, didn’t say enough? Obliviousness can lead to regret…and hell, just as surely as good intentions.

There are few things that are really worth regretting, but it is always the little things that stick around the longest. I regret never telling that boy in high school how much I liked him. I regret having ruined someone’s New Year (don’t ask, I won’t tell), I regret spending so much of my life with no purpose- or not journeying to find that purpose before now. I regret not telling someone that I loved them…and then proving it. I regret never being overtly grateful to those who loved me, (not much for PDA, me, but it takes so little…). I regret being to self involved and not self involved enough- and each, always, at the wrong time.

I have tried over the years to take the words “I wish” out of my vocabulary. To say I wish is to take on an awesome responsibility…and at the same time to put on a awesome display of insecurity. Imagine that saying “I wish” worked. That every time you had a regret you could say “I wish I had never done that” or “I wish I had” and it would come true. The power, the power! But really, if it did work like that, (and it never does- or at least, it never has for me. You seen any magic lamps lately?) you would have to give up an inordinate amount of control over your own decisions to let some power, higher or otherwise, like whiteout, make over your life. Our regrets are ours as surely as any of our accomplishments, and often more poignant. They are the reason you wake up from dreams with an uncontrollable feeling of grief….or purpose. They are our motivation, like cow-switches, that flick us and torment us until we do better. Until we say never again. Or next time, for sure…and mean it. (and I’m sorry for the cow simile. Next time, I’ll do better. For sure.)

Regrets are things that can overshadow our lives or force us to shine. I don’t want to regret anymore that any part of my life was unlived, that any of my dreams were unfulfilled, that any person in my life was unloved (including me). Fight off your regrets with actions. Take a stand (or a seat. It’s all good) and draw a line in the sand. Let your regrets fuel you. Let them fill you up, like a battery in a flashlight. Then turn on your light….and shine.

Watch Judith Owen - Shine on 
P.S. Skip the first two minutes to get to a great song!

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