This post is not what I promised, not another diary, not another story; instead it’s another rant, another stroke of conscience or insight.
Have you ever regretted anything? Not kissing that girl when you should have or not punching that idiot’s face in? I’ve regretted a few of those, more times than I can count, and every time I do it I promise myself “Never again”, but it’s not that I won’t waste an opportunity again, but instead vowing to never again regret my choices. I try to live myself with that simple mantra “no regrets”, but I can tell you, it’s harder than it sounds.
Why do we regret? Why do we think back and try to find fault in our decisions? I’ll tell you, it’s because we constantly ask ourselves the worst question in the world “WHAT IF?”, a question that should only be left to fiction.
We all use that question and we all regret our past actions when we are at our lowest, when things seem like they can’t be worse and we desperately cling to the fantasy of “what if”, always building up wondrous scenarios, where everything was just right and we’re happy. We never seem to consider scenarios where things went to hell in a handbasket and we ended up in the same, or a worse, spot than we are now. We like to think of the “what if” as a means to cling to hope, building a dream and draw strength from it. I’ve done it, and so, without any remorse I can offer you the best advice in the whole damn world: DON’T DO IT. It’s better to find hope and strength and courage in things and people around us, even if everything’s beyond crappy, and even if it’s only schadenfreude (GOOGLE IT).
Why? For a simple reason. You keep asking yourself “what if” and you’ll start depending on it too much, every time building it up more and more until you convince yourself you can make that dream a reality, that the ship hasn’t sailed, that you can conjure up that perfect moment once again and this time not screw it up.
You might be wondering where the problem lies. Isn’t seeking your dreams the way to go? Yes, and no. Going after your dreams is commendable, but going after the “what if” is not, because you’re not going after the girl, or the job, or the idiot to punch because of who/what they are, or what they can offer or have done, but instead of what you think they are, what you remember. Take it from me, I’ve done it, I’ve gone after a girl I missed in my life, building incredible “what if”s, only to realize after some time that I didn’t want her, I didn’t need her; I wanted and needed the person she was, who I remembered, the girl around whom I built my glass house. It toook a lot of time, and even more heartache to get there, to acquire that sliver of wisdow, which I share with you to help you from falling down the same holes and smacking yourself against the same walls as I did.
But even after all of this, even saying DON’T DO IT earlier, I can’t tell anyone not to try and reclaim a missed opportunity, you will do it regardless. What I can tell you, and I expect you to take this to heart, is to think hard and slow if what you want is the real thing or you’re just hoping reality matches up to your desire. Don’t go and kiss the girl because she wanted you to years ago, don’t hit the idiot because of what he said long ago; instead figure out if they deserve it, if who they are now can make you happy, either kissing or beating (and I’m sincerely hoping you kiss the crush and beat the idiot, not the other way around).
If you don’t, if you go and try to reclaim a moment chasing phantoms, you’ll only have more regrets to add to the pile, and trust me, it’ll bring you back to the same spot, doing the same stupid stuff over and over again, in a very crappy vicious circle…I’ve managed to crawl out of that pit and start looking ahead instead of back, and if I can do it, anyone can, so don’t go and take my spot in that hole; leave the festering pit of regret and longing alone.
To keep it simple, be smart, don’t be a wuss and most importantly, don’t be a dick.
Thank you for your time.