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Coming in all shapes and sizes, regrets are interesting to ponder. After all, if we changed the way we did something in the past, the end results may be completely different. It’s the “butterfly effect” all over again. There is no way to adequately predict what could have been or to know what would be different if only…. 

There was a long stretch of time where I believed that I had no regrets. Life continued to flow and I continued to flow right along with it in a comme ci, comme ça (loosely translated in this context as “all is well”) frame of mind.

And then I grew up. And with that transformation of age, I looked at the events that had passed by that if given a chance, I would do differently. The degrees of regret were usually minimal, yet were there none-the-less.

Although small, I do regret that early one morning when I was late for a meeting at my government job as a counselor to the impoverished, I met and spoke briefly with an eager young man running on the Democratic ticket. Rather than excusing myself after a short interlude to race off to the meeting, I regret not having invited Bill Clinton along with me to meet my supervisors. An alteration in judgment at that juncture may have altered my career path….

I regret that when I met R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, I didn’t give him a copy of a book I had written about adolescent suicide. Stipe’s Everybody Hurts had a profound effect as a socially acceptable steam valve for releasing emotional pain. I wish I had told him thank you for the song.

Our current story is partially based upon our history. And our history and our present are the whole, the gestalt of who we are now. It makes little sense to relive any of the past, whether we label and categorize it into compartments of either “good” or “bad.” All just is. So trying to recreate or relive any period other than this exact moment (which of course it is always “this exact moment”), may hold some entertainment,  and then only with awareness that entertaining what might have been, or contemplating what should have been expends a huge amount of valuable energies that are best expended elsewhere. “What ifs” then, are a gargantuan waste of time and energy.

As a proponent of living in the now, a town-crier shouting reminders from my virtual hilltop to the listening ears as to the importance of being acutely aware and present, it causes an itch at my spine as I take a moment to consider the past. My personal story has not always been filled with butterflies and rainbows. It has however, been full of silver linings.

Seeking out the positive side of painful experiences helps us to make sense of any situation, despite how grievous, and to finally accept and move forward. It may seem an impossible task, but given enough time and distance I promise you that there is always a blessing in the rubble. It is this awareness that reminds me to stay in the moment and to live sans regrets.

~As always, from Paris with love & light.   

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