Regrets Suck!

A friend of mine lost her oldest brother a few days ago. He had a massive stroke and died a couple of days later. He was a fairly young man — in his mid 50s. What if I died in my mid 50s? That was a sobering thought! How many things would I regret – if I knew I was dying – leaving undone? I don’t have a lot of regrets at this point in my life; very few about things done, slightly more about things I haven’t done.

I actually can’t think of a thing I’ve done that I regret. Quitting college, changing career paths. Even the choices I wouldn’t make again were right at the time, given where I was in my life process.

But I can think of things left undone that I regret. I regret not pursuing a hard conversation that my father initiated as he was dying. I regret not being a better daughter to my aging parents, or a better sister to my own now-deceased brother.

And ya know what? Regrets suck!

I can’t go back and change my relationship with my parents or my brother. I can’t go back and change the almost non-existent relationship my other brother and I have had through the years. I can’t go back and revisit the family and friends’ birthdays and anniversaries I’ve missed. I can’t go back and change the past.

But, I can look to my present differently. I can look at the circumstances of my life and try to make some informed decisions about what I think I might regret as I come to the end of my life, and I can start to do things differently in those circumstances. It’s too late to be a good sister to Ron, but I can try to be a better sister to the siblings I have left. It’s too late to be a better daughter to my own parents, but I can make sure my relationship with John’s parents is on track – and stays that way. I can’t go back and nurture the friendships I had with old friends Kim or Denise, but I can nurture the important friendships I have now.

What can you do to make sure you have as few regrets as possible at the end of your life?

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This post was written as part of a blog hop being sponsored by Liv Lane. Stop by to check out the other posts!

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3 Responses to Regrets Suck!
  1. Carin
    June 14, 2012 | 9:49 PM

    Yes, regrets suck! I have a few. But so glad you can see what needs to be done in your present relationships so that you can live without regrets. Admirable.

  2. Rachel Payne
    June 20, 2012 | 12:21 AM

    Great question, Cindy! I think being as brave as I can be is part of the equation. Taking better care of my body is another. Your willingness to turn a lost into a growth opportunity is inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Cindy Silverstein
    July 31, 2012 | 11:00 PM

    Hi Cindy! It’s a pleasure to read your blog. Thank you for the honest sharing about your possible diagnosis. I’m very sorry that you are experiencing tiredness and pain. I believe that the right diet and exercise will help a lot. I was also moved about the story of how you want to heal the family relationships that are still possible to heal. I applaud you for having the courage to pursue that goal. I also want to say that it is possible to heal the relationships you have with family members that have died. I know this because I have done this with my mother, the most difficult relationship for many women. She died young, at 51 from cancer. The relationship difficulties had a lot to do with her being an alcoholic. If you know anything about this condition then you may know that the alcoholic cannot be there for anyone….she has constant ups and downs and inconsistencies confusing to a child..outbursts…etc. After my mother died, when I was 30, I began working on myself in every possible way…I had reached a very low point in my life…so I began a natural foods diet, walking, a regular meditation practice, yoga, alternative health modalities, going to meditation and yoga retreats…I completely changed my lifestyle. It took me a long time…my self esteem was very low…but gradually over a number of years as I began to have more understanding and compassion for myself, I began to have more understanding and forgiveness for my mother. I can say now that memories of my mother have changed so much that I remember with a smile the special times we spent together and the characteristics about her that were endearing. The other memories just pass like clouds when they come to mind. They no longer have any power over me. When you say you should have been a better daughter, etc. I want to say you did the best you could with what you knew and so did the others in your life. You don’t need to be a better person…you just need to be that which you have always been and always will be. We may make mistakes, but that is not who we are. As we come to understand who we really are on the inside, we can begin to let go of the negative thoughts that we have been conditioned to believe about ourselves. We are the same being we were when we were born, just as beautiful, pure and full of love and light. That is who we are. I wish you healing in your physical body, healing of the pain of past relationships, and a joyful new beginning for your creative life. Lots of love…Cindy.

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