I don’t know whether its because I’ve hit the big 30 but regret seems more prominent than ever. Personally I don’t have any actual regrets, but I have found myself recently reminiscing over poor choices in my past wondering what the outcome would have been if I had taken a different path. The answer to those questions probably end with me in a different place than sat on the train writing this blog right now, but it could also mean a whole different life with a different set of challenges that I would have to face.
The reasons for my past poor choices were mainly due to my decisions being so highly influenced by other people in terms of their opinions, my innate need not rock the boat, please others and stay comfortable. Looking at it from another angle, if I didn’t have the experiences I had I wouldn’t have made the life changes I have and wouldn’t be living to strive against that.
We need to stop viewing failures as ultimate failures. If you failed it means you tried and you can choose to view this in a positive or negative light. I’ve always been of the opinion that it’s pointless having regrets. There are situations which I have learnt a lot from and hope I bring those lessons forward to my future.
Torturing yourself over a past decision which you have no ability to change or insight into would have been the actual outcome of that preferred change can be a painful and a pointless endeavour, but it doesn’t stop us from doing it. We should view these past misfortunes as learning curves and stepping stones to your future.
How do we live a life without regret? Quite a complex question hey! For anybody interested in reading a book by Bonnie Ware called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. Bonnie was a palliative care nurse, who wrote a book about the top five regrets that people have when dying. This could be viewed as a morbid book but I found it inspiring and it helped me put my current life into perspective. She writes in detail about the below five regrets:
1: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2: I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3: I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4: I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5: I wish that I had let myself be happier.
I think these are something we can all relate to on some level. Through my personal experience I have learnt to heed advice but to follow my gut instinct. I’m more careful than before over who I keep close, thus the advice given comes out of love, but If there is something I want to do or a direction in life I want to follow I will listen to others and take what they have to say on board but ultimately follow my own path as I know that if I don’t I will always wonder ‘what if?’
The other night I sat on my Dad’s patio in complete silence with my friend. It was a novelty coming from living in inner London to firstly be in silence and secondly to see the stars. We sat and talked about how many of the stars we are currently seeing are images from hundred and thousands of years ago because of how long that image takes to get to us, even at the speed of light. Some of the stars we were currently looking at shining so brightly could no longer exist, they are all images from the past. We were literally looking into the past.
This blog was written in the past, the line that you just read is in the past and those negative experiences you once had are also in the past. We are always moving forward. You can choose to spend your future choking yourself with your past or choose to learn from past lessons and use them positively moving forward.
If you can think now, that if today was your last, what would you regret? If you figure it out, then figure out a way to change it. Choose to live life facing forward, not back!