I have many regrets – as many painful ones as mundane ones. But I do not regret regretting. It is because I regret, that I suffer no delusions about my humanness or the humanness of others. Having said that, there are at least two significant and life-altering events [i.e., regrets] from which almost all my other regrets flow.

The first of those two is that I profoundly regret being absolutely terrified of my mother’s husband — so much so that I did not kill him before he used me as unwitting bait in order to murder her. He murdered my mother when I was twelve. That failure to kill him eventually led to my joining a religion that was more divisive and more controlling than most mainstream religions. Being a “faithful servant of Jehovah” set me back at least twenty years and costs me in too many painful ways. These two regrets are my “sins” of omission and commission — not having done something and having done something.

I am clearly aware that had I saved my mother or decided not to join a “cult” that my life would have been different — perhaps better, perhaps worse but certainly different. That difference would have also led to my being a different person. I like who I am; I do not like the life I had to lead to become who I am — hence, my numerous regrets. On the opposite side, there are a few joys I have experienced because of the above-mentioned omission and commission. My children, grandchildren and friends head the short list of those joys.

It can be argued that those things I regret are what shaped me more so than the events in my life that I do not regret; I would not resist such an argument. I would also argue that regretting, as opposed to not, gives one an advantage. Choosing not to regret anything that has happened in one’s life amounts to more than a tacit acceptance of events; it amounts to equating the good with the bad — a benign or perhaps malevolent indifference. Of course, regretting can be paralyzing and one must keep matters in perspective. I believe I have managed to do so.

Descartes is cited as having said, “I think, therefore I am.” I say, I regret, therefore I am better.

Published in: on May 31, 2013 at 4:50 AM  Leave a Comment  

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