Saturday, January 29, 2011

Too many uses of the word "And"

     I'm by myself at the kitchen table, and I just finished my second cup of coffee, and I've been awake since 8:30 even though it's Saturday and I don't have to work, but I never have to work anymore because I don't have a job, which you wouldn't think would be all that bad unless you have any sense of reality, and somewhere out there a dog is barking, and a baby is crying, and Valentino is sleeping on the porch, and really, really, this day isn't bad. It's actually kind of nice. 

     And while I am by myself, I think. And I wonder. And I think about how quickly life goes by, and by the time I've finally realized life goes by so quickly it's too late for a lot of things, but not too late for a lot of other things. And the trick is learning how to balance what you did or didn't do in the past against what you want to do in the future, and also figuring out how to live in the moment and take it all in. Easy, right? Ha.

     And what was done in the past can never be changed. It can be remembered, retold, reinvented, but the facts are still there, and no matter how much you lie, you can't change them. Like the time I was at Rite Aid with Jacey and I walked right into glass display shelves and knocked them all down and it was mortifying and there was glass everywhere and I asked the man if I could help him clean it up and he heaved a huge sigh and said no, just go. I could lie and tell you that some 35-year old redhead with a vendetta out against me for being friends with her 21-year old boyfriend violently shoved me into the shelves and was somehow able to dart away before anyone saw her, but in reality, it was my clumsiness that shattered the display. And Jacey DID laugh. And that's what happened, and that's life.

     And in life, there is regret. And I live life with regret, and I think that's ok. I hear so many people say that they live life without regret, that regret is stupid, NO REGRET! Blah, blah, blah. I disagree. But it's probably just in the definition. [Whoever controls the definition controls the debate.] To me, regret is wishing you had or hadn't done something. Like, I regret that I stopped taking piano lessons after hurting my hand and then I never performed Mozart's Konzert in that competition when I was 16. I regret not going ice blocking in college. I regret shaving my eyebrows that one time long, long ago. And I don't think any of these things are bad. But I do think dwelling on regret is bad. I could sit on the couch all day every day thinking about things I have or haven't done and sulking and pouting and wishing, but most of the time I don't. But for now, I refuse to say I have no regrets. For me that would seem like a cop-out. It seems like it's somehow making those things ok. And I don't agree with that. People always say that every little thing you've done has gotten you to where you are today, and I think duh. I mean, I don't mind where I am right now. I'm pretty happy in life. Some areas could sure use some improvement, but that's true for everyone. But if I had done things differently and I was in a different place in life, I would be ok with that. I would have to be. If I didn't have some of my regrets, I would have others. And maybe some smaller regrets have kept me from creating larger regrets. PERSPECTIVE. Obviously there is only one path your life will take. God already knows what's going to happen, everything has been decided, but I still believe we have free will. We still have choices. And if I could go back, I would choose to do things differently. Many things. And we all make choices every single day. Big choices, little choices. Right ones, wrong ones.

     Bottom line is this: Even though I wish (sometimes desperately) that I could go back and do things differently, I can't. And so I have to be ok with that. And most days I am. And then I remind myself that I am still young, and since I (theoretically) have so much life left, I'm going to make more mistakes and develop more regrets. But that's how you learn. Sometimes you learn from mistakes, sometimes you keep making the same mistake over and over again. That's life.   

     In college I did a project on forgiveness. In order to receive forgiveness, you have to repent. Repenting isn't just apologizing, it's being truly sorry for whatever was done and honestly trying to not make the same mistake again. It's a form of regretting what you did. That's why I don't think regret is bad. I think regret is consciously knowing that you did something wrong, wishing you could do it over again, but since you can't you just try not to do it again. 

    So, I have regrets. And just for me, saying I have no regrets would be a cop-out. It's not that I judge people who say they have no regrets, that just doesn't work for me. The perspective I take reminds me to be so thankful and in awe of forgiveness. I mean really, seriously, in awe.

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