On Regret

Regret is one of those emotions I try to avoid in life. Any decision I make, I stick behind it. I own my mistakes as being necessary to my development. The regrets that I do have tend to stem from inaction on my part due to fear or social anxieties, and I’ve moved beyond those and even have had the opportunity to “do over” some of those missed chances, as it were.

I realized last week though that I do regret not telling people what they’ve meant to me. After all, how can you? There are people who wouldn’t understand my telling them years after the fact that they touched me on a soul level and changed me irrevocably, that even though we walk entirely separate paths now and months or years go by between communicating, that I will always carry that connection in my heart. That level, that depth makes a lot of people uncomfortable. But I still regret that they may not realize how much they’ve meant to me.

In certain cases, I have acted. It took me eight years, but I finally sent my childhood best friend a heart-felt email two years ago, she responded in kind and we caught up over coffee. We didn’t become best friends again or anything, but just knowing that shared caring and memories are there, and that the pain of drifting apart in high school is foggy… that is something. There are a handful of teachers that I was able to tell. But some I haven’t. My flute professor in undergrad passed away while I was in California and I didn’t find out until a year and a half later.

So I think that’s the point, with the regret. Life is so fragile, and the world seems to be growing moreso daily. So what is the point in worrying about being too intense? Why bother playing games or being less than sincere?

Maybe someday I’ll get a chance to tell those handful of people in plain terms what impact they’ve had on me, and maybe not. But I won’t feel that regret going forward. Life’s too short.

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