I've tried to live my life by the saying, "I do not regret the things I have done but those I did not do," meaning to me that the choices that I make are less regrettable than the choices I've failed to make and opportunities I've passed. (Made famous among people my age by a cult movie Empire Records but a form of this can be attributed to Mark Twain. But anyway...) And then I had a couple shitty years and realized that in spite of trying to live free of regrets, I was accumulating them anyway. Apparently, there's no "do over" in life once you reach the age of 10, no matter how nice and convenient the option may be. But all choices have consequences and some leave us wondering what could have been - "what if?"
We all do this; we all play this game. Looking back, there's choices that didn't turn out so great - the end result was different than we expected and we're left to live with the aftermath. We don't regret, necessarily, the choices that we've made but from time to time we wonder if it was the best decision. Could we have played this a little better? Was there a better answer? I do this all the time, in regard to decisions I've made over the years.
Here's a good example: In April 2008, the Bee and I went to a pet store to look at puppies. I could stop right there and ask who in their right mind does that? Looking at puppies is one of those things you do that never ends well. But for the rest of that month and into May of that year, we pined over the boxer puppy at the pet store. We himmed and hawed about getting a dog, and what breed, and when to buy and how to pay for it. Not once did it occur to us that getting a dog would create wrinkles in our lives. And so one weekend in May, we bought a dog. A few days after that I picked him up and brought him home. And life has not been the same since.
Instead of being able to leave the house for hours on end, even to go to work, we now have the duty of making sure that Pootie gets outside on a regular basis for walks and potty trips, making sure he has food and water and toys and treats - all of the responsibilities that go along with owning a dog. Is this a decision I'd change? Would I call a "do over" on getting the Pootie? Probably not; I love his drooly, wrinkly little mug to death. But knowing what I know now, we probably would have nixed the idea of getting a boxer and gotten a dog more suited to our lifestyle. We would have thought about the hassle it would be to find a place to live that accepts dogs and the mess that living with a dog presents. We probably would have gotten a dog anyway but it would have been a more educated decision.
Maybe that's how I should approach this. Maybe I should say that I should have made more educated decisions in life. Maybe I should have stopped what I was doing and what I was thinking and considered all the outcomes (if that's even possible).
That said, if I lived my life more carefully, made my decisions more deliberately, there are some conversations I never would have broached. Topics best left alone, secrets never shared, complete situations avoided - and the domino effect that follows them would have been avoided, too. If I'd followed the path opposite to my gut, my instincts, my heart...
There it is - the big IF. What if...?
And *what if* I had? What if I'd done the opposite? Where would I be? What would I be? What would I have? If I called for a "do-over" on some of my biggest regrets, I wouldn't be here. And I wouldn't have some of the things I treasure the most. I wouldn't have the experiences, good and bad, that I feel have shaped the person I've become. Calling for a "do over" on some of my most painful memories takes away some of the happiest moments of my life. Maybe that just goes to show that you can't have one without the other - you can't have moments of pure joy without experiencing profound sadness. Gain is only appreciated by loss.
I've always felt it's better to know than to spend a lifetime wondering. Some people might feel that's akin to kicking a dead horse but the "what ifs" have always plagued me. What if I'd tried a little harder? What if I'd kept my mouth shut? What if I'd gone? What if I'd told the truth? Someone once told me that regret and guilt are feelings we put on ourselves; we're in complete control of inviting them to the table and similarly we can ask them to leave. No one can make us feel guilt - we do or we don't. No one can make us regret - we either do or we don't. But once they creep in they're hard to turn off.
What if, what if, what if...
"I do not regret the things I have done but those I did not do."
26 August 2009
20 August 2009
Three weeks? Three whole weeks, are you kidding me? What the heck have I been doing for three whole weeks that I've been too busy to write? I have no idea. Nothing spectacular, that's for sure. I've lost my motivation for a lot of things, which is weird because I finally feel like the Mini Bee and I are starting to agree on a routine. I'm getting more sleep than I've been able to get in months and yet I'm just exhausted all the time. What's up with that?
As usual, things around here are in a constant state of flux. The only constant thing in life is that things are always changing. The Bee got laid off again this week. Awesome, right? Yeah... The last round only lasted two weeks but it felt like two months and we were ready to kill each other. This time around it's predicted he'll be out of work until spring. Spring! That's two whole seasons away! I'll be 30 before he heads back to work! What are we going to do for six whole months? He's got some ideas, some projects, some side jobs, thankfully, because that's a long time for us to just sit around and stare at each other. But if we don't keep our attitudes in check it's going to be a rough few months.
It's Thursday - usually on Thursdays at this time I can be found standing barefoot in a line of women (and one man) ranging from pleasantly plump to crazy heavy, waiting to weigh in for the week. Instead I'm home this morning. I actually have things to do and the timing of my Chubby Kids meeting just doesn't work with everything else there is to do. Mini Bee is starting to cut teeth and his naps and eating schedule have been all messed up the last few days. I hate dragging him to Chubby Kids when he's not had a morning nap - he just wails and I have to leave early anyway. (It's rare that he's ever really unhappy but when he is, he's definitely not shy about letting you know.) But those are just excuses. Mostly it's the fact that I've fallen so far off the Chubby Kids cart that I refuse to weigh in this week. I have to get back on track. My stomach has been upset lately and I've been having heartburn (which I haven't had since Mini Bee was born) and I know it's because I've been eating like a cow. Like last night, I was up at 12:30 eating Wheat Thins. I've never been a middle of the night eater - I felt really guilty, standing in the kitchen with my hand in a box of crackers, but not guilty enough to stop eating. Ugh. And then when I woke up this morning I was still hungry for breakfast. What the French, toast?
Speaking of food, there's a new eater in the house. Mini Bee is big enough that we've added fruits, veggies and cereal to his diet. And he loves it! He seems to enjoy just about everything we've tried but especially likes prunes and sweet potatoes. Kingsley thinks it's pretty cool that Brodie is eating food - he gets the leftovers. And that explains why Kingsley has been farting so much lately. Apparently prunes aren't good for boxer puppies. :)
So tomorrow my oldest little brother is moving to Colorado. For some reason, I didn't think this would effect me as much as it is. Craig came over yesterday to sort out some stuff we have stored for him in the garage and I cried when he left. I'll see him tonight and it's not like I'll never see him again. But he's more than just my brother, he's a good friend. And I'm going to miss him. He's moving because the love of his life just moved out there; I can't think of a better reason for him to go, especially when she's as sweet as she is. They seem to get along exceptionally well - they're great together. And so I wish him the best of luck. :)
But like I said, I have things to do today. Brodie and I are heading to Williamsburg to pick up one of my favorite aunts. He needs to have breakfast, I need to shower, got to go to the post office, have to run by the union hall - so much to do and all before noon, when I need to be in Indianola to eat lunch with my mom. So I'm going to get busy.