Living without regrets

“Do you have any regrets? 

“Regrets.” I kept thinking. 

“Yes, many.”

 I shrunk my head. The embarrassment came much more in confessing  than feeling them. As if someone opened the lid to the pot that was already boiling violently. I wished I could brush it off and play it cool but it was what it was as I kept answering to the question,

“They were there to keep me accompanied till late at night. Then, I welcomed them the very next morning. They were there constantly reminding me of all those times that I cannot get back, of all the things I did, of all the things I didn’t do.  I felt suffocated at times as if someone placed a heavy stone in my lungs and told me to breathe to full capacity. They reminded me how things won’t be fine again. How I am doomed. How I have to live with this all of my life.”

Then followed a long pause. 

“Is it possible to live without regrets?” I wondered. 

The self reflecting capacity that we humans have is one of the beautiful gifts that nature has given to us. It makes us sensible. It makes us realise our shortcomings and improve on them. It helps us to strive to become a better human than we were yesterday.  

But it comes with the downside too. We reflect too much.That too much can take soul out of us sometimes. Is there something as too much self reflection? Perhaps there is when it paralyzes us to do anything but keep blaming ourselves over things that have been long gone now.  It comes with a piercing feeling, the realization that we realized it too late of things that shouldn’t have been or should have been. When our own heart closes to us. When life looks at us as if we are a failure. When we don’t see meaning to our life. The worst pain of all, when we fail to realize the meaning of our own very existence.

Regrets have that much power. It makes us bitter to ourselves. We just don’t see ourselves in good light. We have made way too many mistakes. We aren’t flawless as people assume us to be. We aren’t as spotless as we want us to be.We disregard everything we do and whatever we do thinking nothing will change. Our life will remain as it is. We are the most pathetic humans that we have to live with. But something changed over due time as I lived with them. I realized there is another side to this story than the story that we have been repeating to ourselves all this time. 

I am someone who used to think a lot and still thinks a lot. Oftentimes it did more harm to me than good. Analyzing the tiniest of the details, holding back by guilts, doubts, regrets, it was a vicious cycle.  I used to think stress is inevitable. Feelings are something that is beyond our control and there is no point in pushing them. I have to live with them. I even used to wonder whether stress is something that happens to us naturally or stress is something that happens because we take it. However, I didn’t believe in the latter. Years and years will go by. I was a bottled up human ready to burst at any moment. Then I realized that I don’t need to burst. More than that, I don’t need to be bottled up either. The way I was thinking itself was wrong on so many levels.

 Stress was something that I took more often than it happened to me. There was always a choice. This choice that I was failing to realize. Maybe these regrets were the signals too but I didn’t realize them either. They felt like stress to me adding load to the tension that I was already carrying. But there was still the choice. There is still the choice and it is very possible to take that choice. It is very possible to live as we want to. It was harder to believe then now the more I do so, the more I realize I do have a choice in any situation, any circumstance of life. It started with realizing that I don't have to give power to these feelings. And to do that I had to change my priorities. 

Regrets make us realize where we are placing our priority. In some places, we don’t place priority at all and they come hauntingly making us realize how foolish we were to let go of the diamond while holding stones. In some astonishing place, we realize maybe we placed priority over something that we weren’t supposed to. Either way, we have a choice now, where to place it and where not to. 

My priorities were different back then and that’s why it hurt me very much. At one time, I asked myself,” Why is it hurting me this much when it isn't supposed to?” Then I realized I had placed my life over it. Slowly, I took back the control. I also took back control over how these regrets were making me feel helpless. Surprisingly the things that used to affect me so much were now not even affecting me a bit because I didn't give them power now and they slowly begin to fall off from my priority. I also didn't give them priority as such they didn't hold power as well. Maybe it was me who was giving them undue power over my life and things were bound to hurt me.  Slowly I gave priority to things that I should. Where I had been neglectful and it helped me put back pieces of my life together. The more I do so, the more I realize I have a choice. Life is a choice indeed. I could always switch between things and thoughts. I didn't know I had that much power. I thought misery was my companion and I have to stick with him for rest of life. I could always choose. I could either let these feelings affect me over and over again or grow up and be a better human as they intend me to and let go of things that weren't a fit in first place. I had a control over my reaction, my actions and my decisions from now. Though these feelings were something that weren't welcomed, I still have the choice. All I need to was believe myself and keep going while improving them. For making mistakes is one chapter and learning and growing from them is another chapter of our life that these regrets want to remind us desperately. If I didn't do it soon, my coming years would be in regret as well.  

But is it too late as these feelings tell us to? No, it isn’t. There is nothing too late in this vast universe where things take place at a much slower pace. Think of times when you told yourself maybe this was the end but no darling life doesn’t stop at our misery. It however intend to teach us to be resilient over it for there are so many days yet to come more beautiful than yesterday. It is not the end. You are not your mistakes. You have much more to offer than the mistakes you make here and there. It is not the end and it doesn’t have to be the end. Our life doesn’t give up on us and we also don’t have to. There is much more to life than the beliefs we hold on to. These regrets that told me there is no meaning,  now they themselves seem meaningless. My life had still meaning. I can always grow. We can always grow. We aren’t as stagnant as these regrets tell us.  We are so over evolving ever dynamic as we were from the time of birth. There is much more to our story. They don’t need to define us. We can always grow and change the ending to our story.  

 Now I feel like regrets aren’t that bad. But if I don’t learn what they want me to remember, they are not worth having and carrying either. The fundamental thing regrets want us to remember is to live more. So I decided, I should live more now. These days I purposefully fill my time with things that matter to me. Rather than  wasting my time over petty dramas, trivial matters, useless conversations,meaningless relationships, I invest my time over things, relation, work that do bring me joy. I also stopped being victim to those circumstances. Now it was a time for me to be the hero of my life. I realized the only regret that I will have now from years is to not do anything about it. These days whenever I am held back by doubts, regrets and guilt, I purposefully ask myself time and again,

What would you do if you were to die tomorrow?

What would you do to make your living here worthwhile?

What would you do if no one is watching you? 

If you can grow, then why not grow?

Looking back now I realize something has changed in me these days. I could feel my life is rejoicing along with me. For I decided to get busy with living and be grateful for all these lessons that regret taught me. I think it is a waste of my time if I again keep on lamenting over it. The most beautiful part it is it doesn't matter in long run until and unless we vow to make change over it and grow from them. Maybe it is not possible to live without making mistakes, without having regrets but it is possible to live without being affected by it and the power lies in us. 

Now when someone asks, 

“Do you have regrets?”

I say,” Yes I have many. I still keep on making mistakes. But it doesn’t matter to me anymore for it taught me what no one could teach me and I value them for it. What matters to me is how I spend my rest days from now and I don’t want to stop. I want to live fully. I want to live as if my life now won’t be in regrets. The only regret that I will have now is to hold myself back. I will keep going even if there are bruises, I will keep walking, working and loving till my own days end.”