I believe in Regret

Summer - Durham, North Carolina
Entered on October 19, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in regret.

This belief in regret has given the courage to break out, and break up. Before my belief I lived a safe life, staying within the walls that had been erected for my safety and success. I thought that life was about security and success, risk losing those and risk losing happiness. A safe life meant living carefully and following the rules. During my freshman year in college I worked in a Hospice inpatient unit as a nurses assistant that forever changed my view on life and instilled within me a sense of wonder regarding life. While working for Hospice I met some remarkable people who taught me how to live and love. At a mere 19 years old I was suddenly faced with questions about mortality and how I wanted to live my life and how would I feel when it was my time to die? Would I be the patient who died with the crippling powerlessness of regret or would I be the patient who knew that she had lived life as fully as possible without major regrets? Regret can touch our lives in many ways. Most often we feel its tentacles with late apologies, the flowers that we never sent but should have, the love we failed to give away, and time spent doing instead of being. I watched the pain of regret loom over people like a dark cloud that rendered them helpless and in pain. It was too late to do what they had not done-and they could not undue what had been done. These were good people, people who by all accounts should have been okay with the way they lived their life, they were generous good family people that resembled me- yet they regretted the things they never did. I am not sure why they didn’t do what they wanted to, I don’t think it’s my place to figure that out. But I have decided to learn from them and honor their lives and deaths by living mine. I thought about running a marathon, and I knew that I would regret not running one more then I would regret doing one-so, I did it. I loved with my heart wide open knowing full well that it would possibly get shattered-and and sure enough it did, but I still love-I can’t not love as the pain of not loving is worse then the pain of a broken heart which always heals. I laugh hard, and I cry hard, because I will regret holding back. Now, I live with the cloud of regret looming over my head but instead of raining down powerlessness, it gives me shade from the harsh sun. I believe in regret because it has opened up my heart and allowed me to run through open fields all the while sharing my life with others. This I believe.