Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Years to Float On

    So there's this adage which suggests that most people with regrets tend to regret what they didn't do rather than what they did do.  For a long time in my life, I really didn't experience regrets.  True, I had an early marriage which ended in a traumatic and wrenching divorce.  But by the time I had reached my late 20's, I had come to see that particular marriage and divorce as good things in my life.  I  had accrued some student loan debt but there were no regrets there.  I had my heart broken a few times and I broke a few hearts in my 20's but these were, in no way, regrettable loves.  I had selected a career field and gladly sailed off into it.

    Life rolled on and another marriage, two children, and a draining career filled my days.  I was good at working, good at being an attentive parent, and maybe not so good at being an attentive wife.   And now I find myself sitting on the other side of all that and wondering if there are regrets.  I know, I know, what good does it do to even consider that but, yes, I think an evaluation is in order.  After all, my life is not over yet.  I suspect, baring more bike accidents, I might have a good thirty years to float around here.  So what about this notion of regretting what I did or did not do?

    Not so many regrets on what I did.  My children are responsible and valuable members of society.  I wanted them and I did my best work with them.   I was always glad to go to school.  I enjoyed my BA years, loved getting my MA and credentials, enjoyed taking miscellaneous classes along the way.  I don't regret, at all, our decision to leave Silicon Valley and raise our family in the quieter, more community based area of Western Sonoma Co.   We live in an unbelievably beautiful and tolerant part of the county. Who could ask for more?

     So cut to the chase.  Are there things I wish I had done?  I know there are things I think I SHOULD have done but what about wish I had done?  I am still mulling that over.  How about you?

23 comments:

  1. My only regret is that I have no regrets. Seriously.

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  2. Actually, I was thinking of regrets from the perspective of having wanted to do something, and not having done it. However, there are also regrets such as, I wish I had thought to do this at an earlier age. For me it would have been writing. I toyed with submitting stuff to the Observer back in the eighties, and actually gave the editor a dozen pieces, but I did not pursue it, and it got lost in the shuffle of survival. I regret not having pursued a course which might have allowed me to use my job as a source of material. The middle school age level is rife with content. You already know that.

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  3. What I am wondering is can I learn from the earlier stuff? Can I learn from what I did not do? I find myself thinking that I have lived a small life when what I wish i had done is to have lived a BIG LIFE. or not.

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  4. Can you learn from something you did not do? That's like, "If the phone doesn't ring it's me." J. Buffet Dude, how can your life be small? How can you measure the reverberations (ripples, if you will) of all those middle school kids' lives you touch. Totally bogus to say your life is small. How many kids made it through undamaged, because of your presence? If the answer is one or more, than you cannot calculate your life's "size" as anything but colossal. But what do I know? All together now, in three part harmony, "NOT MUCH."

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  5. I regret that the bottle of single-malt Irish whiskey on my work desk is not considered breakfast....
    and that 5 p.m. is so far away...

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  6. Not considered breakfast by whom? Fine. If it's not breakfast, maybe it could pass as elevensies.

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  7. Well, I do have to work every once in awhile and ignore my natural proclivities...(-;

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  8. Work? Oh, yeah. Happened to me once, but the moment passed.

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  9. I really try not to think too much about regrets, not just because the past can't be changed, but because to change one thing about the past would put everything in the present up-for-grabs. But as I told one of the clients at work recently: trying not to think about something is really just another way of thinking about it. And it's probably inevitable to wonder about the what-ifs and could-haves and so on.

    I think your remark in the comments here really gets to the heart of it--the one about living a small life and maybe wishing it had been bigger. I think that's probably one of those almost universal questions we all face.

    When I'm kicking that one around, I try to settle for having BIG appreciation for my small life. Sometimes it works. :)

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  10. Funny thing is I don't even know exactly what I mean by small life vs. BIG life. That's the cool yet strange thing about words. Sometimes the words resonate so well even if the understanding is not fully there.

    I remind myself frequently about all that for which I can be grateful. I know I am particularly fortunate in my family of origin and in my work (despite the fact that work can be a killer). It's all good.

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  11. Could life be like a pair of binoculars? Look in one end and everything is small; look through the other end, and voila-everything's big? In that case, maybe your [wintry] frame of mind is clouding the issue? Let's revisit this notion when you are sitting out in the sunshine, the week after school releases you-sorry, the week school gets out, because it never releases you.

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  12. I may regret this...
    http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/2007/12/o-holy-night.html

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  13. OMG (or, alternatively, OMB) Mr A - that was oh too much - my ears got all scrunchy but it was funny :))))) Save your regrets for something else.... god knows you might have other things more useful to put on the regrets list.

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  14. I am still [obviously] confused. Don't you have to "gret" something first, before you can "regret" it?

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  15. I don't gret it...

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  16. No, but you MIGHT have...We'll never know.

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  17. Masked Gramma says, "Confucius say, "Life is what happens when you are busy making plans." (JT, this is Pauline speaking.)

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  18. Hey, Gorgeous! I love that you left a comment. I din't know you even read this gibberish. It is true that life happens when you are busy making other plans. So, is there any point in making plans?

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  19. Except to steer the course of your vessel, probably not.

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  20. So broad plans might be in order.... here's the other thing I was just thinking: make the frigging plans but be open (even excited) about changes in the plans. Adventures are what happens when the plans change.

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  21. I got an idea: Try making the plans and not canceling them. :)

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  22. That's the name of that tune, Ollie.

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