Oh, the internal rant I have just engaged in.
My husband is getting ready for work, and my kids are all still sleeping, so the rant has remained internal for the better part of 5 minutes, until the coffee seeped into my foggy morning brain and I remembered something.
I have a blog.
My genius husband set it up for me so that I could rant to it instead of him!
Ding. Light bulb.
Warning: the rant is about to commence.
I was watching a show, and one of the characters was asked "What is your biggest regret?"
And you know the response? "Nothing. Regret is pointless. I don't regret one thing in my life."
That seems, at first, like a healthy way of thinking.
And its also a lie. And also stupid beyond belief.
EVERYONE regrets something.
Don't even pretend that you don't. That's the dumbest load of crap I've ever heard. It's Hollywood's way of saying "Don't feel bad about anything. Just live how you want, and then move on. Embrace your mistakes, and don't live a life of regret."
How lame. And cliche. And totally wrong. And no, in case you're wondering, I don't care that, perhaps, the writer of this particular show was attempting to send a different message; a message about not living a life wishing to change the past. If that was what the writer was hoping to convey, then they should have SAID that. No. The writer was sending a clear message about right, and wrong, and how there isn't really any such thing. As long as we don't FEEL regret. The feeling itself is what is actually wrong. Instead of wishing we could change something about our past, let's just all accept everything we've ever done and everyone else has ever done as part of life...and keep on doing whatever we want, and regretting nothing, and if we all do it that way then no one will ever have to wonder if anything is right or wrong. Life just IS. Make whatever choice you want. Just DON'T regret it. And definitely don't apologize, because that implies the regret that we are now saying is the ONLY thing wrong with choices made in life.
And so, with the expressions of my face, I ranted at the TV. (And that is not an easy thing to do, let me tell you. It involved every single facial muscle I have, and they are all pretty tired now.) (and my fingers will be joining my tired face muscles by the time I finish this post, because they are typing rather aggressively.)
Are you kidding me? You're saying that you never once said something that hurt someone that you wish you could take back?
Even if you choose not to regret your '80's hairstyle and clothing choices, or indulging in too much food or wine or...whatever else, you should at least have the decency to feel bad about hurting some one's feelings.
Gosh. What a crock.
And I turned the channel.
Because the only thing worse than having a child wake up too early and interrupt my solitary TV-and-coffee time, is having that time ruined by lame lines on shows.
OF COURSE we all regret things.
I sincerely regret many of my hair style choices.
I will always regret stirrup pants.
And tube socks.
And certain shades of nail polish and eye shadow.
And riding certain rides at the fair.
And I will forever regret multiple movie choices. (Seriously, "Scream" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer" ? Ugh. I can never get those hours of my life back.) And because of my feelings of regret with regard to many movies I have seen, I am a much more selective movie viewer now. "Is it scary? Or stupid? Because if so, no thanks."
And now I will write something that could potentially cause someone else to have full-facial muscle rant. (I guess that is the risk that all writers take. I wonder if they ever regret it?) (insert snarly-eye-rolling-face here)
Regret is something to be embraced.
It is a tool that helps us learn. And change. And grow.
The night before my sister, Joy, left on what was to be her final trip overseas, my family planned one last 'out-to-eat' bash. I had a newborn baby, and three other little kids, and my husband was out of town on business, so I opted not to go. I knew I would see her the next morning before she left for the airport. So I stayed home that night. And now there is a family picture taken at that restaurant of everyone but me, and it's the last picture that will ever be taken on this earth with her in it.
And I will always, always regret that. It makes my heart ache every time I think about it.
But you know what? I make different choices now, because of the regret I feel with regard to that choice. Now, I make more of an effort to spend time with people, even if it puts me out, or adds stress to my day and life.
I never, ever hang up the phone with one of my family members without telling them I love them, because I am always aware of how many more times I WISH I had said it to Joy. And while I can't say it to her any more times on this earth, I can allow my sadness about that to change the way I speak to people now. I choose to say kind words rather than hurtful ones, and I choose to apologize for the hurtful things I DO say, because I regret those words and the pain they caused, and wouldn't it be just awful to say something hurtful, and then never get the chance to try and make it right? That's a regret I don't want any more of. And so my remorseful feelings, with regard to the past, change my future.
When I get angry with my kids and raise my voice, I always regret it. And I apologize. And you know what? This isn't a bad thing to teach our kids. I want my children to see that I screw up, and I know it, and I wish I hadn't done it, and I'll try not to do it again, and I am remorseful about the damage caused by my actions and words.
I would much rather them regret mistakes and learn from them than go through life as if there is nothing WRONG except the feeling of condemnation they heap on themselves for choices they made.
Don't misunderstand. I don't want my children, or myself, to live their lives under the burden of their past mistakes.
I want them, and myself, to live with the awareness of mistakes, and consequences, and let that SHAPE future steps and choices.
And now my rant has run out of steam (or at least my fingers and facial muscles have).