I’m down to two topics on my list: regret and love. And because I always have been, still am, and will always strive to be a romantic optimist – it feels right to get regret out of the way.
There’s a thousand icky Pinterest board memes out there, written in cursive white fonts, against backdrops on Instagram filter skies about regret, isn’t there.
Shit like “There are no bad decisions only detours on our paths” or “life’s rich tapestry” and “to get rainbows you must first have rain”.
And I’m torn. I tend to stick by the ideology that most things happen for a reason, or more, eventually turn out for the best. What seems like biggest let down in the world in the moment, with a year of distance, you feel was the right thing to have happen. And so, on that basis, sure there’s no regrets. Everything, good and bad, sets us on our journey, and without all of it, we wouldn’t get to the beautiful times and people.
But come on. There’s things we regret. For me it’s little things, that add up to more – conversations I wish I responded differently to, feelings I wish I emoted, and biggest of all, people I wish I saw for what they were, and didn’t let under my skin so much, or more, tolerate unfair treatment or behaviours..
Not everything in life we can control. And those things we can’t, should never be regrets. But the things that we can control, or should have, yeah, they can be.
I’ve referred to him a lot in this past 100 days, but most of mine relate to the man who I stayed with for a very long time, who, when I look back, I have hundreds of regrets.
I thought I was happy. I thought we were good. But it was all the haze of wanting to be in love, and security, and I guess the fear of an alternative, which then came at a big cost. Even if that meant putting up with treatment and actions that were completely wrong and unjust. The times I just cried and told him I’d do better, that I was sorry. When I should have just told him to fuck off, that he should be the one apologising.
And whilst I was younger then, very young, and I know I’ve grown since. I can’t just blow it off and say “well I was just young and stupid, I’d do better now”. Because since then, I’ve also put up with relationship behaviours and patterns that I know were not healthy.
I regret that my tolerance with the first guy has now set me up for a life of problematic, one sided, emotionally restrictive, relationships, and I fear that he did damage to me that I’m unsure can be undone.
And I regret that I let my optimistic romanticism, and love for Love, cloud my sight and judgement.
But what can you do? We can’t do anything about the past or our regrets. We just have to push them into a little part of our brain, carry them with us, and hopefully, when similar situations arise, we can do a little side by side comparison, and remember quick enough to act different.
No one is perfect and someone out there has always done much worse. So let’s not beat ourselves up about our past mistakes. But lets not pretend they don’t exist either. Because one thing I am certain of, it’s that there’s going to be a lot more to come.
Whilst I might always be a romantic optimist, I think I’d like to add realist to that mix too.