This I Believe

Theresa - San Diego, California
Entered on November 29, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: forgiveness
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“So Much More Than Regret”

I believe that there is no such thing as regret in life, just lessons learned. I have something to confess; I killed my neighbor’s goldfish. But hang on! I didn’t do it on purpose. I simply forgot to feed it. I felt horrible, breaking a child’s heart by killing his fish. Why couldn’t I just have remembered to feed it? What was I doing that resulted in me being so irresponsible? But did I regret my poor actions? No, I simply learned to take my time when dealing with my responsibilities. Think things through, double check.

But I think many people would agree that the guilt of killing a fish wouldn’t be so unbearable that I would regret not feeding it even if I did believe in regret. This brings me to a time when I started to really question the idea of regret. This time it wasn’t the life of a goldfish that was at stake. It was mine. Not only mine, but some of my closest friends as well. When I was 18, I was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. I have heard many terrible incidents of people being killed in drinking and driving situations. Often times it’s the driver who survives while killing their passengers or some other innocent person. They say they regret what they did and won’t be able to live with the guilt and pain they’ve caused. It made me think, what if that night had gone terribly wrong and I lost my friends to my sheer stupidity and I was the one left standing to live with the guilt? Would I regret my actions? My answer: no.

I by no means consider myself cruel or selfish, mean or apathetic. Life is just too short to live with regret. How does regretting something make anything better? It doesn’t. It has absolutely no good purpose. With anything in life you must always move forward, evolve and learn. I am in no way pleased with the choice I made that night but I am thankful that nothing bad happened and I’m blessed with the wake up call this experience gave me. I want to live a life of good purpose so no matter what I do or what happens to me, I can have no regrets. In order to make a meaningful impact on those around me I can’t dwell on the negatives, I can only take the knowledge that I’ve gained and put it to use in the future. I chose to live a positive life and make the most of what has been given to me, the good and the bad, and with that being said I will always live with my belief that there are no regrets in life, just lessons learned.