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Regret, Indifference, and Me

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Some people say they have no regrets, that all of life's experiences – good and bad – have made them who they are. In fact, they wouldn't change a thing. I used to think that way. I considered myself one of those well-adjusted individuals who took it all in stride, feet on the ground, eyes forward, never look back. But then something happened that changed the way I think, and I found myself questioning the very meaning of the word regret. In its simplest form, a regret is something you wish undone. But even in its simplest form, it's complicated. Every experience we have in this life is shaped in one way or another by the experience that preceded it. The way we think, the way we act, the way we feel, the sum total of who we are is defined by what happened last. So if you undo something, you have effectively altered everything that follows. Everything.

And most of what we think we regret was not all bad to begin with. It's usually the unhappy endings, the unfinished symphonies, that cast shadows on the whole of an experience, causing us to view it in an unfavorable light. We forget that we were happy, that we laughed, that we dreamed, that we loved. We forget that there was a beautiful beginning and a magical interlude before the storm clouds rolled in. It's easier that way. If we remembered all of that goodness, how could we possibly move on, or why would we even want to.

Some people say that indifference is the ideal, an inviolate state of being, a last armor so to speak. I used to think so. I believed if I could simply reach that blissful state of indifference, of not caring anymore, that I would be free. But there is a fine line between indifference and denial, between forgetting and letting go. And the bottom line is that I simply care too much, feel too deeply, want too badly — a collective weakness that has left me vulnerable to a world of hurt. Indeed, the girl who had no regrets was the girl who feigned indifference.

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