Regret in a Photo

There was a safeway in my hometown (the only grocery store other than food lion) and since it was cheaper, that’s where we shopped mostly.  A classmates mom worked there and I was 7.  She made a comment about how she didn’t know what to get her son and I made a snide comment about him being a bully.  All I remember after my words was that my mom scolded me.

I remember regretting it from the comment I said it. It was the second moment that I can distinctly remember feeling regret.  The other time was when I ran to pet a job with my grandfather watching and he AND the owner of the dog scolded me.  As an adult, I give both the ‘things you do and say without thinking’ card, granting myself forgiveness.

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Mistakes are different than regrets.  Mistakes are the things we did not knowing better, but learn from.  Regrets are the things we didn’t do and wish we had or did knowing it was a mistake.

Regret is a strange thing.  It changes and evolves as you get older.  When you’re younger, you are more likely to do or say things that you wish you could take back. As an adult, I think of the things I didn’t do as my regrets.  Sure, there are still things I regret saying or doing, but they’re few and far between. Most mistakes we make are part of the learning experience or prove that we’re human.

Earlier today, I saw a picture that reminded me of something I still cringe at.  In my early 20s, I was not as articulate as I am now and public speaking was a weakness (now, not so much!)  I was the maid of honor in my best friends wedding and wrote a speech which wasn’t bad…but after hearing the best man speak, I realized errors I’d made in my own writing and I completely flubbed up my speech.

Now that I think about it, I did sit in the wrong spot at another friends wedding (and the rest of the wedding party followed suit).  For the record, the other two weddings I was in I didn’t goof up!

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There are things that I regret not doing that continue to haunt me.  Going back in time to change things is impossible–but that doesn’t mean one can’t learn from it.  Maybe parallel universe theory is true and there’s a pocket universe version in which you made a different choice.  Though, believing that could be a skewed coping mechanism.

I’ve always been a strong believer in what is meant to be will be, but lately I’ve been questioning it.  Do people have free choice or is everything we do already determined?

At the end of the day, even the best of people make mistakes and have regrets. How to internalize them is what counts.

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