on regret

Posted: January 5, 2016 in Uncategorized


Here at the opening of 2016, I’m pondering my ability to choose my potential regrets.  After all, a regret is a thing that should be chosen with care.

I’m not going to regret developing the discipline of writing daily.  I know from a lifetime of choosing to write, or choosing to blow it off, and dealing with myself afterward.  In 2013 I wrote every single day; I never wish for a single moment of that investment back.  At other times, I’ve skipped entire months of writing – a choice that inevitably leaves me with the sort of regret I’d rather skip.  I’ve never wished I’d invested less of myself into my writing, but I’ve often regretted not investing more of myself there.  I get to choose.  What will I choose in 2016?  It’s up to me.

I’m not going to regret being intentional about investing time, attention, and resources in people who matter to me, and that would be a closer definition of “loving” them than the ooshy squooshy stuff we call love most of the time.  Looking back across 49 years of life tells me that in this category, all regrets are about forfeited opportunities to be there for my people.  I never wish I had loved less.  Never.

I’m not going to regret handling my money well.  Building a bit of savings and relentlessly dodging debt?  Never regrettable.  Being faithful to give God the first 10%?  When I’ve done so, I’ve never wished I had that money back – I’ve always noticed how well my life works, when I’m following that precept.   I have an ocean of experience in not choosing these things, and a vast catalog of regrettable consequences from those choices.  I can choose to regret or to be glad.

I’m not going to regret taking care of my body.  After exercising faithfully, after eating well, I’ve never gotten lost in a morass of gloom over wanting to redo that choice.  I can know for sure that a week from now, a month from now, or a year from now I will wish I had started today – that my health, self-image and overall well-being will be better than today if I do so, and won’t if I don’t.   My level of discomfort with my body today is a result of what I’ve chosen on days past.  This math ain’t calculus.  I get to choose my regret.

I’m not a child.  I know for sure things I always regret later.  Things like carelessness, selfishness, laziness, self-centeredness, lack of intention, lack of self-control.  I don’t want to choose those regrets.

There are regrets worth having – when you take a chance to chase a dream, and maybe wipe out.  Sometimes the journey is worth the cost of the regret.  This year, I’d like to choose that kind of regret.

Some like to claim having no regrets.  I don’t buy it, but I won’t make that argument here.  It seems best to me to focus here, on me, on now.  I can choose my regrets.

When I sit down at the end of 2016, what regrets will I happily live with, and which would I like to say I left behind?



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