Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention

It is puzzling to me when somebody says that they have no regrets. None? Is that possible? I know what they mean, of course, but it just doesn’t add up for me.  When I hear someone say that they have no regrets in life, I remember a time when I had none but it was also a time when I didn’t learn anything.  Like most I have my share some from every decade, large or trivial following like a shadow.

As a young girl, being Catholic I was required to go to confession weekly and purge what I did wrong all week. Even though it was weekly, repetitive and without substance like “Father I was mean to my sister.” Once it was over and after my penance of 10 Hail Marys’ I had no regrets and did the same thing the next week as we tend to do with all bad habits and faulty beliefs.

I believe our regrets reveal a good deal about who we are but as with the confessional above not interesting to anyone but us. Father in the confessional was doing his time, without the slightest emotional engagement or interest in my level of regret about being mean to my sister. Never a simple question such as why are you mean to your sister? So is his sin then the sin of omission? Does he then have any regrets about passively sinning?

Yearly I notice a particular repetitive regret, a spiritually related one. I really wish I were more devoted to my daily meditation. I’ve been at it most of my adult life, and I know without a doubt that my days/work/life goes better when I meditate. Often though as I am rushing, getting external things in order if something has to go, I delay mediation and thus my well-being. Why do I/we do that which betrays us rather than be committed to do that which is for our greater good?

I engage in mindfulness as a practice now so I have less regrets when reviewing at the end of the day and hopefully at the end of my life.

Years ago as a fairly new Therapist I frequently sat with people who were dying in palliative care or by request of the family. It was a very rewarding time for me and them for the most part.  When people are adjusting to the reality of letting go of this life, they often want to tell their life stories and review memories. I found most people at this stage to be at peace.

Others had significant regrets when they found themselves at this stage of life when there was no possibility of changing their legacy. This feeling of regret was palatable and filled the room with overwhelming sadness. The “if onlys” and “I wish I hads”… there was no more “untils” to put things off …time had run out.

The sadness of people with regrets at the end of life has stayed with me through the years and remains an indelible memory. It pushes me sometimes when I am discouraged. I say to my-self “do you want to come to the end of your life and have regrets of I wish I had done this or that back then”?

Have you reviewed your life to date? Do you regret not risking?

It’s a New Year and a new beginning, so take stock of your inner shelves pull everything out from behind to see what is there for review so you can make a “course correction” and truly say…

“Regrets, I’ve had a few… but then again, too few to mention”.

If you do not risk a shift, this time next year will likely find you more discouraged. Old faulty patterns will be more entrenched and cause even more disruption.

Now is the perfect time.

Laura B Young

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