I’ve never been big on regrets. I prefer to avoid them. When faced with a decision of any magnitude, the question I ask myself most is whether I’ll regret doing or not doing whatever it is.
That’s not to say I don’t have any regrets. Of course, I do. But they’re few and far between, faded now to niggles. Wistfulness has replaced full-on remorse, in large part because I can’t do anything about the situation.
One was not going to my mate L’s wedding. I was living in Alaska at the time with a paltry few days of annual leave. The wedding was a last-minute decision. When she rang, I was in the Carolinas at a conference. I had neither the days nor the money to make the detour. And I was upset at what I saw as a piper’s invitation. I regret taking the hump. I should have said to hell with it – put it on the credit card, told the job I had a family emergency, and gone. I know she knows I regret not going. We got together a few times since then and had great plans for a European tour. Then she died suddenly.
Another I was reminded of when FB popped up a memory of my good mate JP. He was getting married in California at the height of the season. We got an invitation. I declined. He posted this on FB.
So Elroy, my youngest raccoon, gave his input to my ol’ mate Mary‘s response that because of astronomical airfares she and her love would not be able to make it here from Budapest for the wedding.
“Well, that sucks…”, he said.
“Completely understandable”, I answered.
Aw, the ignorance of teenagers.
Again, both time and money were the issues. And again, had I known JP wouldn’t be around for long, I’d have pawned the jewellery and headed stateside. We did get to spend time together a couple of years later and again, had plans for a European tour, but sadly, JP died suddenly, too.
I’ve made my peace with those regrets. I did get to spend quality time with both L and J before they passed. And we had plans. That those plans didn’t come to anything is neither here nor there. They served their purpose. They gave us something to look forward to.
I’ve learned my lesson, too. And never has it been more real. Given the days we’re living in, we really never know when we’ll see anyone for the last time. That changes the decisions we make. Yes, we can still only play the cards we’ve been dealt. We can only make decisions based on what we know now. We can only work with the information we have to hand.
But the uncertainties, the what-ifs, the mights and maybes all colour the decisions we make. All we can do is do our best to ensure we have no regrets.