This post is raw and a little random. There’s more I want to say but here’s a start
I resisted regret for years. I never wanted to admit that, if given the option, I might change or take back certain decisions I had previously made. Living in a society filled with outspoken and proud young adults, who cower from admitting they’ve done something unintentional, I felt the pressure to conform to my peers. I tried to adopt the cliché thinking that everything happened for a reason. I tried to think “#YOLO.” I tried to ignore my feelings of remorse. Nothing worked, until I accepted regret.
While I’ve learned from my decisions and don’t discount those lessons, knowing what I know now, I wish certain things had gone differently. It doesn’t mean I should or could have done anything differently, it means I wish I had. I think it’s a natural feeling to learn from experiences and then wish to have avoided consequences all together. Who wouldn’t want to have things work out the best way possible?
For me, that decision is choosing to attend my college. I don’t love that I chose a school far away from home, somewhere a million miles out of my comfort zone. A few thousand would have done the trick in this case. Understandably, accepting this or any regret will not take back the results. However, it can help me (and you) solidify values and better prepare for future situations. Indifference toward regret is a disservice to you.
Based on what I know now, yes, I would choose a different school. Don’t confuse that with me not being happy or feeling grateful for my opportunities. My values are crystal clear compared to four years ago and I’m not afraid to admit a so-called weakness in my past. In fact, I admire people who own up to decisions and subsequent results. It takes courage to acknowledge feelings of remorse, especially when people think it’s cool to feel blasé or disinterested. We don’t have to love every single one of our decisions.
There’s a fine line between counterproductive regret and regret that can induce change and awareness. Once you can focus on the latter and recognize that you made a choice you (gasp) regret, you can take that lesson and improve for the future. For me, it would have been going to a more traditional (maybe conservative) school, possibly closer to home. Again, this doesn’t mean I’ve been unhappy for the last 3+ years, it’s just that I’m accepting that you can’t avoid the r-word.
I will always continue to set high standards for myself, but I understand that life will never be perfect. Those ebbs and flows and mixed emotions are natural. They show I care. They show I am learning and growing. They show I am alive.
*Linking up to Thinking Out Loud*