I am 38 years old, and for better or for worse those years have made me what I am. There are many positives to the experience along with a ton of negatives as well, and I don’t try to see if the scales balance because I have a sneaky suspicion that they don’t. Regrets, I have a few. Actually, there really are only three big decisions I regret in my life, but still they’re there, and I have to live with them every day. In fact, on any given day I’ll think about one, two, or all three of those regrets before finally laying my head down to sleep and hoping they don’t also invade my dreams.
Does everyone think about their own regrets as often, or can other people block them out to a certain extent and go about their business relatively oblivious to them? If only that were possible for me I think I would have less worry wrinkles on my forehead. And I don’t believe those who say they have absolutely no regrets because that flies against everything that I know about human nature and the rat race. Even if they’ve somehow made their peace with the regrets along the way, some small piece of them has to wish they could have changed them. At some level. Or maybe if they honestly have no regrets perhaps they really are perfect. Which would give me hope for myself.
But maybe I don’t want to be perfect. Maybe on some level I want to torture myself with those very regrets I detest. Perhaps the fight against those memories keeps me sane and hungry to just be better, to just make better decisions instead of repeating all of the same ones that didn’t work out before. And in the name of all that’s good and holy, I really don’t want to add another regret to the list. Three is more than enough, I assure you, to last me a lifetime. Which is not to say there aren’t more, but the big ones are the ones that consume me when I’m not vigilant against letting them run me down.
It’s times like these when I wish I was Catholic, when I wish that some priest in a tiny room could absolve me of my sins and I would think of them no more. But I entertain that daydream for only a second of time because I know that all the other tenets of the faith would overwhelm me even more surely than these regrets do now. And who’s to say one man’s absolution would even be worthwhile or work to rid me of these manifestations in my head? I know I need to confront those regrets head on instead, to let them drive me to the brink of whatever black hole is out there, and then reel it back in so I don’t go insane.
Because that’s all I have the strength for.