I’ve been walking down a consistent train of thought in my last couple of posts. However, this next post should an anomaly, as well as being more personal. Every year at Thanksgiving, I like to sit introspectively think about something that I am thankful for. Whether it be family, friends, or even one year I was thankful that I had the opportunity to socialize with old friends I otherwise couldn’t via social media. However, this Thanksgiving is unlike any other, the thing that I am most thankful for this year is
That’s right, this year I’m thankful for regret.
A few years ago I was watching Inception and the main character was faced with a choice that if he refused, he stood the chance of becoming an old man, filled with regret. I found that idea specifically horrifying. A cold terror struck me that caused shivers to go down my spine. I was terrified of regret. If you ever discussed life with me in the recent months, it probably would come across that I still am. However, over the last couple of weeks specifically, I have experienced a paradigm shift.
If you let it, regret will ruin you. It will freeze you in your tracks and you’ll be helpless as you watch as the world passes you by. If that regret turns to anger, that anger is only pointed inward and you’ll end up hating the man in the mirror. You’ll be handcuffed to the railing of a sinking ship watching as the treacherous waters slowly rise from below.
You can’t let them, you need to reverse engineer them, you need to turn them into motivation. You need to face them head on and quit running from them, own up to them, admit them, and then repent from them. Now, after taking that into consideration,
I regret caring so much about the big things that I ignored the little things.
I regret the times I saw someone from a distance basically reaching or calling out for help and I just carried on.
I regret how the time between calls to my parents has grown.
I regret not spending more time with those who look up to me.
I regret being unaware of my condescension.
I regret the times I pursued closure when it was already within myself.
I regret saying some things.
I regret not saying other things.
I regret not saying proper goodbyes, because you never know when it’s going to be the last one.
I regret not being so conscious of the happiness of others.
Now this post isn’t meant to be one of self deprecation, it’s one of change, I’m still young and I have the opportunity of doing so. I’m only thankful for these regrets because they are the catalyst for my change. If I never regret them I would continue to make the same mistakes and it wouldn’t phase me. Now some of my regrets seem contradictory, but that’s because resolving them never really is that simple. Regret is the voice of a wretched antagonist, hurling insults at you from the other end of a tunnel. If you try to ignore it, try to walk away, you’ll continue to always hear the faintest of echos. Only when you face them, only when you finally shut them up will you surely have that peace.
If I look back at this years from now, will I have all of these regrets buried? Hopefully, but that’s never guaranteed. I will however, be satisfied with any change that illustrates the evolving progress of my character for the better. So I’ll say this again, I’m thankful for regret, and I’m thrilled that I will have the opportunity of turning them into lessons I have learned. Referring to my post about how the smallest change can have a profound lifelong effect, I smile at the potential of what these will become.
Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone, spend it with people you love and don’t fall into the habit of choosing shopping over spending time with people. There will always be crap to buy, but the things money can’t buy wont always be there.
-Logan T. Miles