For some time after my separation I told myself I had no regrets. I felt such shame and humiliation, this was my only way to reserve what little self-respect I had. What better way to protect your ego then to believe that you have No Regrets, I would do it all the same given the chance? What better way to get through each day with some semblance of self esteem intact but to say “I have no regrets, I’d do it all the same”
This is, of course, ridiculous. What woman gets to age 54 with major health issues and a looming divorce, with no regrets? If you can find one, I’d love to meet her.
Today, I am looking at my regrets. I can see them clearly. I can see how my life would have been better without them. I suspect more will crop up as time goes on, but for now this is what I can acknowledge; this is what I can deal with, accept as something that could have gone differently if I’d chosen a different course; i.e. Regret.
#1. Listening to words instead of actions. This adage is true, and will always serve you correctly. Actions Speak Louder Than Words. Every time. No exception.
#2. Breaking up with the boy who challenged me; the boy who scared me, because he was genuine. He lived an authentic life, which meant he thought about, and discussed, the possibility that life would disappoint; not always please. I couldn’t handle reality. I fell for illusion.
#3. Taking the job I knew wasn’t right for me. I’m not good in a ridged environment. I need flexibility, creativity, and the ability to seek out other solutions. I’m not an “we’ve always done it this way” girl. I knew this, but I took the job anyway. 3 months later I was unemployed and desperate.
#4. Not moving to Louisiana to pursue the PhD program I had been accepted into. Instead, I stayed in my hometown and went into the MA program. Today, I have a MA degree, instead of being a Dr. And, I’m dealing with snow storms. I hate snow.
#5. Not standing up for myself. This is so complex. To stand up for myself I had to feel myself worthy, and I had to believe that what I wanted was “right”. These are 2 essential ingredients I lack. I am filled with doubt. I don’t stand up for myself, unless it’s in a passive-aggressive way. Which is, well, yucky.
#6. Not accepting other’s fears. Being as fearful as I am, I guess I can’t really accept others in a fearful situation, so I judge. And I can be mean. I hate this about myself.
#7. Smoking. and Drinking. and Overeating. So many people do these things with no ill effects, but that is not me. I suffer consequences. I need to be careful how I treat my body.
#8. Over-reacting. I wish I could stop and breath. Think about the situation. I want to be the person who lives with that awkward silence, in order to make sure they honor their own truth. I hate silence. I love those people who say “hmmm…..that is a gray area”. I never say “hmmmm…..that is a gray area”.
#9. Giving up Pets. I gave up Pets for my ex. I gave away two kittens. I agreed to have no pets. I agreed that animals are “filthy” and have no place in a house. I gave up one of the things I love the most – animals. Animals soothe me, they heal my soul, and I agreed to live without them.
#9. Not getting divorced years ago, when I knew it was my only option. I might die because I didn’t do that. The stress of a bad marriage might actually kill me before my youngest graduates high school. Talk about regrets. As I learn more, I see that each of my diseases is the result of the constant stress of my marriage. I really could have been healthy. If I had done just 1 or 2 of the above.
Never give up who you are. Accept the good; accept the bad. All of it makes us who we are. All of it makes us different from the person next to us. All of it makes the world go around. I think about Steve Jobs when I ponder this. So many spoke ill of him; said he was crazy, demanding, impossible. Yet, how would our world be without him? He might have been all of those things, but he was also creative, brilliant and inspired. I love the world we live in today because of him. Without our differences, who are we? If your partner doesn’t embrace your differences, they are not your true partner.
You must be true to yourself before any other.
PS: Why do all of our lists end up being 10 items? Perhaps I’ll come to regret this!