I’ve said it before but being diagnosed with cancer makes you very reflective on how you’ve lived and are living your life. When I started looking back, I had to admit:
16. I have some regrets.
It’s hard to say that because it carries such a negative weight with it. But if you’ve lived at all, I’d bet you can say this.
I have some big regrets and some small ones. Some of them are things I wish I would have done, some are things I wish I wouldn’t have done or done differently. All of them come from choices and decisions I made. They are things like:
I wish I hadn’t been so anxious to start working and would have gone to live in California or overseas right after college.
I wish I would have married young and for love.
I wish I would have pursued singing more seriously.
I wish my kids were growing up in a more traditional family structure.
I wish I would have finished my masters.
That’s just a sampling. There are others. But when I start thinking about these things I look back on them and realize the flip side of any of these situations would have had consequences and likely a different set of regrets. I understand that the grass is not greener on the other side. It’s just different. I also know that many of the choices I did make had wonderful results that I may have missed out on if I had done things differently.
Some of my regrets were really just flat out mistakes – bad choices or decisions. But everyone agrees we can learn a lot from our mistakes. As I’ve become more willingly to be vulnerable, I think I’m learning a lot from my regrets too. But if we focus on them too much, they can create sorrow. They can also create envy. This state of reflection has sometimes created more envy in me than I had before cancer. Not wondering why I got cancer instead of someone else, but wanting to have some things in my life that I haven’t yet, before it’s too late. So I have to work on not coveting now, more than before. I have to work on being faithful that those things will come.
I can’t aspire to the idea of living life without regrets. I have them. But, I’ve decided what I can do is try to live going FORWARD not creating new regrets.
This means facing some of my old choices and trying to be sure I don’t repeat them. It means really acknowledging what I want and not accepting anything short of that. It means taking counsel with people I know love me, even when I’m afraid they won’t agree with me. It means taking more risks. It means following through. It means believing in myself and a great plan for my life….without the burden of NEW regrets.
So, yeh, I have some regrets, and I think that’s ok.