Thursday, October 03, 2002

question (10 of 100)

Q: Do you believe in regret?

A: Actually, I don’t.

The nature of regret is that terrible of sense of coming to the conclusion that you made the wrong choice in the past and are now paying the commensurate penalties for it. It begins as a notion, growing into something that nags at the periphery of heart and then grows with tremendous speed into a weight your soul can scarcely bear.

I believe that errors in judgment will occur and will continue to do so as you progress in life. Being only human, you will have lapses as you juggle matters big and small, hoping to come to right decision. Therefore it is a given that you will slip up somehow in some way somewhere, perhaps offending someone, causing sorrow, inadvertently sowing pain. But my belief is that if you are willing to own up to the responsibilities of your actions, then regret is a useless exercise because it achieves nothing.

This is not to say that you should not feel bad about things you did wrong, but rather that you accept your capacity for error and then do something to correct it, if and when you are able.

We do not exist alone in the universe but interact daily with other people. The possibilities of a wrong turn are huge and no one can claim to make the right call every day over every matter with perfect consistency. We need to stand up, despite the wrong choices we made, and carry on with our lives and try to make the right choice next time.

But of course sometimes even I cannot help but regret (there is a difference between what I believe and what I sometimes cannot prevent). What do I regret? I regret some actions I performed in my callow youth. I regret not reading enough. I regret not thinking enough. But some of these I can still correct, rather than sit paralyzed in front of my monitor and confound myself with thoughts of what-could-have-been.

I believe regret can be insidious, like a slow poison coursing through the veins, ultimately replacing your hopes and dreams and passions with its own heavy helplessness.

I choose instead to be responsible, to act with potential consequences in mind, and live my life looking at the thousand and one possible choices and encounters with rational bravado, rather than stand perfectly still, afraid to disturb the universe.


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