Life is extraordinary. One day you sit down next to a stranger and the next thing you know that stranger is your whole world. We are never truly aware of the possibilities and the opportunities that rest at our feet, often until we have passed up something wonderful. Regret is a mystery just waiting to be unraveled, even when we make a decision that seems right at the moment we may later figure out the outcome was less than favorable.
I know a young man, he is very close to my heart, he is filled with regret often, lets call him Rob. Rob met “the one” when he was a teenager, we will call the lovely lady Lisa. Rob and Lisa were three years apart when they met but age played no part in the intense way they fell in love. They would speak for hour and never get tired of hearing each others voice. Rob and Lisa had a long distance relationship, and as many of us know, distance can take a toll on love. Small fights seemed larger than life to the young couple.Try as they may the relationship ended and they parted ways. Hurtful things were said and both hearts were broken. Through the heart break neither forgot how deeply they loved the other.
Years later Rob came to me for advise, he still loved Lisa with the same intensity as the first time he saw her lovely honey colored eyes. He said she had been married and was now pregnant and alone, he wanted to save her. He stated he knew he would regret not reaching out to her, he said she was his soul mate. I told Rob I was behind him no matter what he did, that I would support his decision. Rob and Lisa were reunited, Lisa had a lovely baby girl that Rob took in as his own. Everything seemed perfect in the new life they had started together, until regret stuck.
Rob had a gnawing regret over taking Lisa back, he said she was different, he wasn’t ready for such a big commitment, he had a million reasons why this was a mistake. They fought constantly and heatedly. They broke up again, this time it was harder on both of them. Lisa was alone again, she and the baby moved away. Rob thought he did the right thing even though he spent many night on the phone with me telling me he missed Lisa and the baby. Rob recovered, or at least he seemed to for a couple of years, he hardly ever spoke of Lisa.
I spoke to Rob today. Can you guess what he expressed? Nothing less than deep regret. He regrets the decisions he made in regards to Lisa. He knows she is his soul mate and that he will always love her even though it is far too late to get her back. Lisa has remarried and her baby is taken care of. Rob regrets the very first break up. In his own words “if there was a single thing I could change in my life, I would never leave her”. I haven’t spoken to Lisa in years but I know she feels the same way, I know they will both remain tied to each other no matter where life takes one or the other. In the end Rob will likely live out his life never able to fix his regrets.
The thing is, we cant change even a single event in our lives. Even though we try and try to live a life without regret we never truly accomplish it. I have never purposely made a decision to alter my life for the worse and yet I can pinpoint exactly what those decisions have been. Life is so short and unexplainably complex, so don’t dwell too long on your decisions, make the best choices you can, and just watch it all unfold. There’s no telling what we might regret.