This blog is not for the light-hearted or easily offended. If either one of those descriptions applies to you, i would suggest you start drinking before you read this blog. A sense of humor is suggested. If you don't have one that sucks for you … find one and get a life!

In which i discuss regrets

I think I explained one of my main credos of life in a previous article entitled “I’m not even worried about it.” Today, I would like to discuss one of my other basic tenants which is “I don’t believe in regrets.” Here’s why:

I was 29 when I moved back to North Carolina, pregnant and without having that many friends after having been away for 9 years. Naturally, I looked up some people I had known in my childhood but not necessarily stayed in touch with. One was a girl that I had known through swimming so our relationship was developed over a long period of time. We were discussing growing up and she told me that she had a lot of regrets and the following conversation took place:

Her:      “I have a lot of regrets from when I was in high school and college”

Me:       “What kind of regrets?”

Her:      “I was slutty and slept around a lot”

Me:       “So? That was a long time ago.”

Her:      “I just can’t forgive myself for behaving that way”

Me:       “That’s crazy. Why does it even matter at this point?”

Her:      “I just can’t move beyond it. Don’t you feel that way?”

Me:       (I was pretty wild in my ill spent youth so this was a valid question)

            “No, I don’t believe in regrets.”

Her:      “What?”

Me:       “Really. I DON’T believe in regrets!”

Her:      “What does that mean Lynn?”

Me:       “Looking back on my life, there are a lot of situations that I shouldn’t have been in. There were a lot of comments I made to people that were awful and yes, I do feel bad about that. There were decisions that I made at the time that seemed good, and turned out to be awful, that have definitely made me think about my choices. And especially when I was drinking, things seem like a great idea and often that didn’t turn out to be the case.”

Her:      “…and…”

Me:       “But given all that, I still don’t regret anything.”

Her:      “How is that possible?”

Me:       “It’s possible because I like where I am today and the person I’ve become. I like my life. Yeah, I’ve made mistakes and done plenty of things that I’m not proud of but those incidents were the stepping stones on the path that I walked. Without them, who knows what I’d be like today. Maybe I wouldn’t be this person, with this relationship. Maybe I wouldn’t be pregnant with this child. Is it possible I’d have another great life? Sure it’s possible. I have no way of knowing. So no, I wouldn’t change a thing.”

To this day, I feel the same way. If I could go back and be nicer to people (or at least not shit on them the way I apparently did back in college), then I would. But I can’t. I’m sorry if my behaviors upset some people. I’ve tried to apologize to the people that I hurt if I still have any contact with them. I do feel bad that I, in some way, contributed to screwing up somebody else’s life. At any rate, I’ve dealt with my own possible diagnosis of MS, my brothers traumatic car wreck injuries, my parents’ deaths, my son’s autism diagnosis, my daughter’s tumor and plenty of other shit along the line. If I did not have the coping skills that come along with constantly having had to dig myself out of holes, it is possible that last year (the year of Keely’s fucking huge tumor) would have been worse for me and everyone in my family.

So no, I don’t believe in regrets. What’s the point of kicking yourself over something that happened a long time ago? If you need to apologize to somebody, apologize. If you need to rectify a situation, do so but seriously, WHY waste your time and energy over something that happened in the past and that there is absolutely no way you could change. Unless you hate who you are now, then get over it. I did. And if you do hate who you are now, you really should be looking into why you don’t like yourself NOW rather than reflecting on stuff that happened long ago that you can’t affect.

So, now you know two things about me. One: I don’t believe in worrying about things out of your control and two: I don’t believe in regrets. Stick with me in this blog and we will eventually get to number three: set the bar low. I have no lack of personal credos and I hope you get to hear them all!

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11 Comments

  1. angelicalangie
    November 24, 2010

    Girl I so agree with what you are saying. It's only been the last year that I have been dealing with the fall out of a fairly cruddy childhood that I too have come to the same realization. I call it Learn, accept and move on.

    Essentially it goes like this Learn from mistakes, and anything else going on in your life (It's all a learning curve), accept that the past is a written chapter and accept the lessons learned, now move one with all you know and take the learned lessons with you – not the past.

    You can not, ever, regret the past – it's what brought you to the point at which you are today. (Which is your point) If you aren't happy with the you or the situation you are in today – it means you got something to change in the now.

  2. Sarah
    November 24, 2010

    Totally agree. Anyway, what you did in the past is based on who you were then. You acted how you did because that was how you were then, and faced with the choices you had, you made the choices as the person you were then.

    Those choices shaped who you are now, as all our choices shape who we become.

    Is your friend very religious? Does she regret wild behaviour because it goes against her faith?

    Having no regrets is one of the secrets of good living. That and always having a decent bottle of wine in the house. :)

  3. LilPixi
    November 24, 2010

    Right on with that!
    I just think you're awesome all around. You know what's up.

    I esp. believe in having no regrets because more & more I believe that there are no coincidences as well.

  4. kate
    November 24, 2010

    OMG! I don't worry, don't do regret and once got into an agruement about my low system of low but happily attainable standards!

    I also got into an huge discussion about the difference between hindsight and regret. :D

  5. Linda Swift
    November 24, 2010

    life doesn’t always give us the joys we want.
    we don’t always get our hopes and dreams, and we don’t always get our own way.
    but don’t give up hope, because you can make a difference one situation and one person at a time.look for the beauty around you—in nature, in others, in yourself—and believe in the love of friends, family, and humankind.

  6. Lynn MacDonald
    November 24, 2010

    Linda, thanks for the comment. I really appreciate it! I agree…life is what you make it!

  7. The Regular
    November 25, 2010

    I agree, I don't play the "what if" games that go along with regretting decision – what if I hadn't done this, what if I had done that? It just makes me lose sight of all the great stuff I've got going on right now. My friends, my family…and that's what I have to be thankful for!

  8. Masked Mom
    November 25, 2010

    My personal theory regarding regrets is very similar. There's no point because the past can't be changed and even if it could, to change the tiniest thing would be to jeopardize everything that came after it. There are far too many things in my present life that are worth too much to risk.

    Of course, like most theories, it's a little too theoretical at times and doesn't completely innoculate me against the occasional late night, "What the HELL was I thinking?" feelings.

    (Had to repost this because I hit publish and then realized I had said the opposite of what I meant in the first version. Commenting under the influence of turkey dinner is NOT reccommended.)

  9. Angela Steward
    November 28, 2010

    Great post!!! I'd like to add more but I think you've said all that needs to be said. And it's said well. Bravo!!

  10. Jessica
    February 20, 2011

    Oh, I have to get better at this, I’m going to have to keep reading this post over and over. Very well said.

    • Lynn
      February 20, 2011

      Thank you…yeah, this blog is all about my personal credos…you should also read “I’m not even worried about it!”

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