“Regret for the things we did can be remembered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.” – Sydney J. Harris
How much time do you spend thinking about something from your past?
Most of us spend a considerable amount of time doing just that.
It’s the things that made us feel badly. The what ifs. And also, the happy times.
There is nothing wrong with any of it. But it is the amount of time and the degree to which it uses your emotions that matters.
The thing about it is that it cannot be changed. Nothing can make any of it different.
If you had a rough period in early years that can haunt you and ‘eat’ you up for years, and maybe forever. That past has wounded you mortally.
It is not uncommon to be someplace and see really old people still talking about their parents.
Many times, it can be good memories but frequently the bitter part is still there.
Early relationships can linger in one’s mind and they can even consume thoughts.
Things about any part of life; work, school, friendships, and activities are all included in this return in time.
Choices that were not what you hoped would turn out well can take up a lot of space in the head.
It seems that the negative aspects of life control more of our thinking than do the good parts we have experienced.
Regret for those paths not taken, those experiences not lived, the frittering away of time, money, and risks that frightened us come into play here.
With age and hopefully wisdom we can evaluate our lives and how we have used our time and talents. We can honestly assess what we are and what we have done with the time allotted us here on this planet.
Learning from experience is a fine outcome of this. Staying stuck does not move us forward. We can remain in a rut, so to speak, and then we can’t stand ourselves and others do not want any part of us.
Now when it comes to relationships it is a tender area.
If we have been rejected, we can spend a great deal of time trying to figure it all out. What did I do wrong? What might I have done differently? We can blame the other person or dream up all sorts of excuses and scenarios where it might have turned out differently.
If we have been the one to reject a partner, we can be adamant about the reasons and feel fine.
Sometimes we can change our mind and the feelings will be strong. We may want them back.
We can then think of ways to change the decision.
Regret is a bad feeling. It can be crippling.
To wallow around a bit is normal but after a bit of time we should move on and live in the present.
One of the really difficult areas occurs when a partner dies. Sometimes when they are ill or not the person they once were we are left with remembering the past and wanting to stay locked in it.
There are people who do stay and talk about the past constantly. Other people usually do not want to linger there forever.
That was then, and this is NOW!
At times you really must force yourself or push hard to stay in the present. It is especially hard when the present is not so wonderful.
Reverting to the past is easy. You can just reinforce the positive times and soft peddle or even deny the hard parts. It is up to you and you can make it whatever you choose.
At times others can remind you it was not all peaches and cream and you can accept that or fight it off or even become angry that they said it.
There are momentos, pictures, cards, voices on phones and so on to remind and keep the past fresh and alive. The person is not with you, but they are in a sense. You are holding on to them.
The memories have legs.
The best way to deal with any of this might be to savor the memories and hold on to the good parts and be grateful for them and maybe, just maybe, use the experience with a new person.
Keep the flame going as you wish but be aware that today does NOT return!
“Time is a storm in which we are all lost.” – William Carlos Williams
Have you regrets? About what? What would you have changed in your life?