Thursday, March 15, 2007

Regrets are a mind control device invented by...*

Wry Catcher was wondering about regrets. Unfortunately, I did not read the famous dooce post (or the comments).

Like most things, I have mixed feelings on regrets in general.

I understand why people have them. I have a handful of regrets myself (not majoring in computer science at a state school is one of them). If I start really thinking about it, I suppose I have lots of them.

On the other hand, I've made lots of choices in my life. Some of them were blue shirt or green shirt choices, others were much more complicated. It's not possible to do everything you want to do. Some things are logistically impossible. Other things are not possible because we live in the world we do with things like rent, car payments, careers and relatives.

In my own case, I wouldn't have met my husband or a handful of my good friends if I had gone to a state school. I might not have spent three and a half months in Russia. I might have been driven crazy by programmers and ended up teaching kindergarten (unlikely but possible).

So my philosophy is, I try to do the best I can. I try to let the people I care about know that I care about them.

I would go nuts if I really started thinking about my potential, what I wanted to do when I was 10 (I wanted to be president or an astronaut) or the things I probably won't end up doing before I die. I would also go nuts if I started thinking of all the things I would like to tell people in my life, some living, some no longer living.

Some days it's easier to accept than others. I guess I like focusing on the things that I chose to do and why.

My husband likes to say "the past is the past". I think that is an encouragement to live in the moment. It's easier said than done.

*he also says that time is a mind control device invented by the Swiss, hence the title of this post.


Freckle Face Girl said...

There are many cross roads in life where we could have taken a completely different direction. Sometimes, I think about what might have been, but for the most part I like what I’ve experienced & where I am. I think I spend too much time dreaming about what the future will hold, which can be just as bad. You’re right about living in the moment.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god, I'm so glad I popped over here to see what the link was! Great post. I was haunted by the regrets thing for almost a week. Luckily my essential "present-orientation" kicked in strongly and rescued me. But sometimes, regrets I don't normally think about can leave me breathless in a wash of untapped emotions.

I spent a couple of months in Russia myself, back in the early '90s. Best thing I ever did. I shoulda stopped by earlier, as I've always thought "cranberry blog" was a clever little name.

Also, I love anything that points out "Swiss" and "control freaks."

Sister Mary Lisa said...

I like this post a lot. I think that it's good not to focus on regret too much, and if some regret won't let you go, do something to change it if you can.

Aerin said...

Thanks FFG. I don't think a person should never think about the future either - just in moderation. If you're always thinking about the future, you can't stop and smell the roses (so to speak).

wc - I think it's important to think about regrets sometimes to - because there are things you can change or impact. If I really wanted to rock climb more (and I haven't been since high school) - I could work more towards doing that more often. Thanks for the compliments, I'm a big Salinger fan myself. I was in Russia in 1996.

Thanks SML - I don't think your avatar is obscene.