“Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
During the day, I say, “no regrets, my mistakes helped make me who I am.” Then, at night, I lie awake, unable to sleep because all those unregrettable mistakes play on continuous loop in my head.
Just as I am about to drift off, another one pops into my head, my whole body cringes and I jerk awake. It’s like dreaming I’m falling, and hitting bottom every time.
In the morning I shake it off, resume my day-to-day as if my night was only a bad dream, sloughing off the lingering malaise like any other abstract nightmare. I can keep telling myself I regret nothing in my life, when in fact, I am troubled by the bad decisions I’ve made, the hurt I’ve caused, the pain I’ve endured, the opportunities missed.
My regrets can be distilled down into what shaped the person I am, my beliefs, my opinions, my personality, my loves and life, but I cannot truthfully say I would not want to go back and change anything. I don’t know what any one shift in time would mean, what sort of person I would have grown into, how my life would have splintered. I can say, I like who I am now and the people who make up my life. I cannot (or don’t want to) imagine being any different.
But… those regrets can sure ruin any chance of a decent night’s sleep.