Regrets are a Waste of Time

Elise - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on February 19, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

What if someone forced you to defend everything you have ever done in your life? Would you be able to? In the movie Defending Your Life, that is exactly what the main character is forced to do. He is not asked to defend whether all of his decisions were the right ones. Instead, he is asked to defend that his life was “well lived,” that he took risks and tried to live his life to the fullest, without regrets. Many times we look back on events in our life and wonder how things may have turned out if something different had been done. I myself have often looked at certain things I have done and tried to figure out how the outcome could have been changed. Ultimately, however, I have learned that regretting such things only wastes time and energy. The fact of the matter is that you cannot change what happened in the past, so there is no point in worrying yourself over what is over and done with.

A recent experience I had made this point much more obvious to me. Not too long ago I was chosen to interview for an award. Unfortunately, I was not picked to be a recipient of the award. For the first few days after I found out, I spent much of my time attempting to figure out what I did wrong and why it wasn’t me who was chosen. I thought I had done everything possible to prepare for the interview, and I thought everything had gone well, which left me a bit angry and confused when the committee didn’t choose me. Although it was difficult, I eventually realized that I couldn’t waste my time worrying whether or not I would have been chosen had I said one thing and not another or if there was something I could have done differently that would have turned the outcome in my favor. While at the time it seemed like not receiving the award meant that I wasn’t as good as the others who did, I remembered that I had done my best and I couldn’t be upset about how everything turned out. I know much more about myself now than I did before and that made the experience worthwhile. If nothing else I learned to accept rejection and not dwell on the past but learn from it all and make changes in the future.

Often times it is hard to accept the outcome of events. This in turn usually leads to regret and wondering what if. I, however, have been lucky enough to learn that this only wastes time and takes away from living your life to the fullest. Learn from your past, live in the present, and prepare yourself for the future, but don’t let regrets dictate your life.