Regret. It is something that, in my opinion, is supposed to serve as a tool towards remorse for people who do terrible things, or people who allow terrible things to happen. Which on the whole sounds alright. But the word as defined means ‘to feel sad or sorry about something that you did or did not do’. There is no scale given for what level of action (or inaction) deserves regret. Apparently anyone can and should feel regret for even the tiniest things. I disagree. For most normal people, regret is about focusing on the past, and allowing your sad and sorry feelings to wallow there, remembering what you have (or haven’t) done, dragging you eternally into a fixed point in the past like an anchor on your soul. No thanks.
I prefer to live my life by learning from the things I feel I have done or handled wrong, whether through action or inaction, or by lack of forethought. Life is one giant learning experience, so why REGRET what you cannot change? If you CAN change it, then it’s just a mistake and upon rectifying it there should no longer be feelings of remorse surrounding said mistake. Do all you can to live your life well, apologise when you can, think before you speak (I work on this daily-this is why I’m a writer and not a lawyer), and try to live by the Golden Rule.
Saying that, I understand that this is a writing prompt and obviously it has achieved its purpose. But for posterity’s sake, here it is:
Something I wish I had done differently last year: I wish I had taken out a bigger student loan for this year. I underestimated what I would need and want, and because of that I have been unable to travel around Mexico and the surrounding areas as much as I would have liked to, and had to budget my life in the city more than I would have liked to. I’ve seen little bits of the country and enjoyed the city, but not as much as I know I could, or maybe should have. To be fair to myself, I have been busy with fieldwork, but I wish I had thought that decision out better. One of the things I enjoy most in life is travel, so it is a shame that I have been so close to such amazing things, and unable to see them. My solution? I’ll think more carefully about it next year, and be creative in my remaining time here to see and do as much as I can afford. I have a few things and ideas planned for the next 6 weeks, and I’m really looking forward to doing them. I’ll also plan to return here in the future and see everything I’ve missed! ;-)
So that’s it. Think about you own lives as well. Do you regret things? Can you change them? Are they worth the mental anguish? Most of the time, the answer to the two latter is ‘no’. So change what you can and free yourself from the rest. Live well.