July 25, 2012 by
Categories: Self

I have always tried to look back on my past and consciously not feel any regret. This is not to say that I have lived my life perfectly — It is because I know for a fact that I cannot go back and change things. Thus, feelings of regret would only serve to make me feel negatively over something I no longer have control over.

Theoretically, I try to live by this rule: Do not regret, because at the time it is what you wanted to do.

In this past week, I have had additional thoughts on regret in regards to future decisions rather than past ones.  I realized that merely the idea that I would regret not taking an opportunity is significant in influencing my life decisions.

This realization strikes me as possibly contradictory to my previous “rule.”  While I say that I do not allow myself to regret, I am now face the task of making a decision and attempting to yield the lowest amount of regret. It puts a special weight on decision making, because I cannot predict anything that will happen tomorrow.  I can only take what I know of my past and present and make a best estimate (better known as taking a risk).

Let me give some background—A few days ago I was offered a job in a big city far from home that would add rich experience, opportunity to help others, and a chance for an adventure.  After months of job searching (and self-searching), I have landed on a path that seemed to offer exactly what I was looking for.

View from a coffee shop in the city.

So why, amidst the excitement, did I feel so anxious? This is what I wanted, wasn’t it?

I decided that the only way to work through things would be to draw out plans and work on logistics to see if I could make this move a reality. As I gained support and encouragement from friends and family and moved further in the process, all signs pointed to the decision to leave behind my hometown and start somewhere new. It’s surprising how your direction of life can change in such a short amount of time.

Interestingly enough, what ultimately made my decision was that I knew if I passed it by I would have a long stack of regrets keeping me company at home.  As I delved more into making things a reality, I became painfully aware that staying here now wouldn’t have the same appeal as it did before. Knowing that I had that chance and that I turned that chance down has a powerful impact, even with the very real prospect that moving will bring about many (but very different) difficult challenges.

I hated the thought that I would let something so great pass me by because of fears of making mistakes, loneliness, or leaving my comfort zone and support group.  As a therapist I have often challenged my clients who feel stuck to think of a time they were in a similar situation and were able to surpass it. I had to dig deep and remind myself that I have faced tough experiences in the past and that I am capable of tackling new ones.

And so, I accepted the position. Do I still reserve the right to feel sadness and bittersweet emotions? Absolutely. Change is necessary, but comes with growing pains.

Now that I have committed to this path, I also vow to not have (or more realistically… not to wallow in) any regrets. All I can do is move forward and continue making choices true to myself.  In two weeks when I wake up in another city, I may have a different perspective.  But for now, I am happy to share that a new chapter in my life has already begun. I look forward to the journey and what new thoughts it will bring to Collective Inquiry!

What are your thoughts on regret?

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2 Thoughts About Regret

  • Kimmie Kadan
    July 25, 2012 at 11:16 am Reply

    I feel you on every part of this!
    I’m really looking forward to talking about things with you and starting new adventures at the same time. And watching this upcoming season of Parks and Rec with you. My former parks n rec viewing companion is Susie, who you’ll meet when I move up! 🙂

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