An old feeling came to visit this week: Regret. It had been gone for quite some time, but on Wednesday it suddenly washed over me like a salty wave, pulling me out to sea.
There was an opportunity I had almost three years ago -- that if I had taken it, would have brought me down a very different road academically. It was a coveted one, though I didn't know it at the time. Like a pig with pearls I sniffed at the open door, and let it close.
By the time I realized what had been given up, it was too late to recover. It can't be said I didn't try: I even went back and "knocked" (i.e., begged) several times, to no avail. The door was closed and just would not reopen.
I soon found myself stuck in a story of Regret. A story that told me I had messed up, that I had shut the door to my only happy ending. A story that made it extremely painful to accept other fine opportunities that came along -- because they just weren't That.
would have had,
should have had,
But as I told and retold this story to myself, it only kept me from seeing my situation as it was. Sure, Now was vastly different from what I had imagined. But, in some ways, Now was better -- because it was real.
On the other hand, Regret leaves me pining at that closed door -- not realizing what beauty is right next to me, free for the taking, if only I turned to behold it. The beauty of a life not just imagined, but lived.
i. When we keep one (or both) eyes on Regret, we miss out on all that Now has to offer. If you could make a list, what might Now be offering you? // For me, it's full of projects, collaborations, relationships, activities, skills & insights that I gained by walking this path instead of the one I regretted not taking...
ii. During my readings, I came across a handy framework in which to process Regret. It was a useful/interesting exercise for me and I hope to share it in the near future!