Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Regret: A feeling of disappointment about something that one wishes could be different.
Having dinner with my friend Dorene a few weeks ago and talking about regret, I realised that I don't have any. Imagine if I regreted dropping out of school (and was bummed that without a B.A. I can't serve in the Peace Corps or participate in Teach for America) or if I wished I had had children or not spending my inheritance on a downpayment for a house (I traveled instead!). Regret cancels out the decisions I made, the way I have lived, the person I am now. Regret makes me a victim because I don't take responsibility for my choices. Regret is exhausting. No, I don't believe in regret but I do believe in learning from my mistakes and this empowers me. It also teaches me to forgive myself and others, too. I can see that for some people regrets may be a motivating force but for me it always seemed that planting that little seed of 'what if...' would bring nothin' but pain and sorrow. I'm lucky because I grew up in a time when I could make a lot of choices for myself- choices my mom couldn't have made so easily. I am grateful for this and happy to say, now I'm ready for school. In 1977, I wasn't. When I turned 50 last February I welcomed the half century mark willingly and with excitement. I have never been more Stephanie than I am now- more passionate, flawed, excited, compassionate, grateful and yes, celebratory that all the choices I made so far have brought me to this moment: I am here now. I can live with that.