Old Blue Eyes sang,”Regrets, I have a few” in “I Did It My Way.” I think most of us have had more than a few. Life is lot of choices. Where you go to school, whom do you marry, what kind of career do you want to pursue, where you choose to live.
Some of us do spread sheets and others shoot from the hip. When the outcomes are good you are a genius. When the result falls short we go over and over in our minds what went wrong and how you SHOULD have proceeded. What a fantasy.
We create an ideal world. Our marketing gurus are more than happy to serve up the good life. If only you use this product or that then you will achieve nirvana. If you don’t then it is your fault. You missed step three or used the wrong formula. They are never wrong.
Afghanistan is a mess and for the most part always has been. We entered an impossible situation and made it worse. We will hold post mortems on everything from tactics to withdrawals. Tora Bora, Bagram, you name it, we will hold hearings and throw some people out of office because of this or that. Were the originators or mop up guys evil to the core? I hope not.
We had a tour of the Pentagon a few weeks ago. All that brass and all those rooms where top decisions are made could not have foreseen the attack on 9/11. We will say there were warning signs and some did not connect the dots. But were they laggards or malcontents? I think not. As we sat on a walkway between the buildings, our guide pointed out where the nose of the plane settled just beneath us. That was just plain old reality up front and personal.
It was interesting in that they had a chart of everyone who died or was injured. A guy was in a meeting and survived because he went to the head. The others were obliterated. I am sure his life has been full of joy at surviving and anguish that he did. Does he regret?
In the study of regret there are two types of the same. On one hand you rue what you did. That stupid move that cost you monetarily or psychologically. It is over and done but it nags at you in so many ways. A lost love or a business opportunity that went south. Woulda’s, coulda’s, shoulders prevail. Yet there is no way you can go back. There are no do overs in life. It is what it is.
The other type of regret is more insidious. It has to do with inaction. You were presented an opportunity and didn’t take it. You should have bought Amazon at 20 or Facebook at 9. You had a chance to change careers and just did nothing. It might have changed your life forever. You coulda been a contender! That doesn’t go away as easily as if you tried and failed but at least you tried.
Regret haunts us. But wait. There is a salve for those wounds and it is called blame.I didn’t screw up, it was the other guy. That golf shot? The sun got in my eyes or someone made a noise to throw off my backswing.Biden didn’t blow the exit, it was already preordained by Trump’s negotiation of the date. Bush and Obama had no choice but to do it or else.
There always has to be a fall guy and rarely if ever is he a higher up. The sacrificial lamb gets slaughtered. The high priests go on just as they always have….most of the time. Andrew Cuomo quickly ran out of friends. The Donald lost fifty some odd lawsuits that claimed the election was stolen. For each and every side there is justice what ever that means. But I think they all miss the point.
Life is totally unpredictable. No one plans for pandemics or economic meltdowns. Airplane crashes or random shootings are not part of a plan. If I were to calculate my odds of going out in my car and it crashes or walking into a store and catching COVID, they are slim. Yet people hole up with phobias and doomsday proclamations. Pretty sad.
This fantasy world of regrets and blame will drive you crazy. I like to say I can’t take back what I said five seconds ago. It is history, in the books so to speak! I wish a lot of times that I could but it ain’t going to happen. You have a disease or condition. If only I had stayed away from this or that or taken better care of myself. If only they had elected the other guy. If only my loved one had taken a left or right five minutes later none of this would have happened. And yet for better or worse it did.
It takes a strong person to admit they were wrong. Their whole personna demands that they are right. I have to save face. Blame it on random or some sort of nefarious behavior against me. Never admit realty. It is the sign of weakness…and stupidity. Ha!
When you come right down to it we all have to look in the mirror at some point in time during the day. We are honest with ourselves even though we don’t admit it. We do realize from time to time that positions we take are absurd. That credo we live by has some holes in it and we know it. Why can’t we just say so and move on?
We all have to look at life and know it is ever changing for better or worse. We all have warts. We all have failed. That is called being human. Not all that bad when you think about it.
Ted The Great
When researchers asked a test group how many had no regrets, 80% said they didn’t have any. Really ?
We face up to 70 decisions to make every day. Some small ,some critical. How you choose can affect your life or just your routine. Go for it!
People in hospice regret:
That they made decisions based on what people might think.
That they worked so hard
That they didn’t express their feelings more openly
That they didn’t stay closer to friends
That they didn’t let themselves be happy.
There are victims everywhere. Some are real such as rape, physical and psychological abuse. People have been duped and conned. For others it is just a convenient excuse. C’est la guerre.