Something I Regret

I saw someone on twitter talking about how they didn't regret anything they had done. I mean this is just like the "if you could go back and change anything, what would it be..."

The right answer, of course, is "nothing, my mistakes make me who I am..." and that's a great answer. It's true, we learn from our mistakes and they got us to where we are, but does no one ever stop and wonder where else they might be? Not that where you are is bad, or that you could be anywhere better, but just... different? No one?

Just because you regret a decision doesn't mean you made a mistake and sometimes because you made a mistake doesn't mean you regret doing it.

There are 3 things I regret almost equally, and they all revolve around the same lesson (I really believe life gives you the test before the lesson and continues to test you until you pass it -- a developmental theory I'm now familiar with suggests that you experience the same things repeatedly, just a higher and higher levels of understanding...): telling people how you feel before it's too late.

In 2008 an uncle died. I hadn't seen him in years upon years, but he lived in the same city as my mom. While I was in college, he was found in his house unconscious. He'd fallen into a diabetic coma and they believed he'd been that way for 3 days, at least. He regained consciousness, but had some brain damage (the brain was swollen for 3 days and pushing against the skull resulted in damage). He didn't know who anyone was and he didn't know what had happened to him. A few weeks after he regained consciousness my mom, her brothers and his kids decided to put him in a nursing home until he got well enough to go back home. While I was home for Spring Break that year, my mom asked if I wanted to go to the nursing home to visit him. I hate nursing homes. Hate. So I asked my mom how he was doing -- she assured me he was fine and getting better every day. I decided not to go.

The next week, my uncle died. Did I have anything to tell him? No -- but it would've been nice to see him one last time.

In 2009, J committed suicide. As I mentioned in some of the posts I did after his death, there were things I really wanted to say to him and never got the chance. There have been, continue to be and I anticipate will be days where I think that had he known the things I wanted to tell him he might still be here. I know it's not my fault, I don't ever think that, but I can't help but wonder what if -- what might be different right now if I'd gotten over myself and expressed my feelings...

In 2010, the uncle that I talked about on my blog got sick and died. My mom used to hassle me everytime I was home about going downstairs to spend time with him. He worked all the time and so when I would be up, he'd be at work and when he got home I usually would be out. That's not to say I had no opportunities to see him -- I did and I didn't take them. There were lots of things I would've loved to have heard him tell me about, like how he started his business and what it was like to be a business owner. I did, however, see him when he first went into the hospital when he was still doing ok, before the surgery. It was eerie seeing him in the casket at his funeral because he'd lost a lot of weight after his surgery.

It's easy to hear the lesson of recognizing that life is precious in these -- and that is an important lesson; however what I keep being reminded of is how important it is to let those around me know how I feel about them. To take advantage of time I have with people I care about. Ironically I sometimes get so focused on making those brief moments be everything they can that I miss out on the moment! I'm trying to work on that too. Being fully present for everything I experience isn't as easy as it sounds, but I am trying.

I regret plenty of things, but I learn from those regrets and ideally I wouldn't repeat those mistakes. I don't think it's a bad thing to have regrets. It means you're looking for those life lessons and learning from them. I love self-aware people, they are the best! It's not easy being self-aware; it requires un-fun conversations with yourself and sometimes people you really care about but personal growth is everything!

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