Originally Posted February 6 2017
Do you ever think about regrets?
No… not about WHAT you regret…. those I think everyone has… especially when you are supposed to be going to sleep and your brain decides to replay the last 26 years of embarrassing moments. I mean just regrets in general.
I remember being a kid in grade school when motivational speakers would always come in and talk about how their lives were pointless until they TOOK CHARGE! And DECIDED TO LIVE WITHOUT REGRETS! And MAKE SOMETHING OF THEIR DREAMS!…. I remember these people really annoyed the living daylights out of me for two reasons…
1. If you are currently a successful person because you get paid for telling people how you became a successful person by becoming someone who went around telling people how you became a successful person, are you truly a success? (Seriously… it hurts my brain to think about)
And 2. Of course you can proudly talk about having no regrets and being so happy you took the leap! You are a success! You are happy! You are doing da hula in da moola! Can you really say that you are happy because of what you did though? Or because you’re lucky enough to have it work?
These two questions always plagued me when motivational speakers came by…. yes I was a rather cynical child, but I do think it was a legitimate concern.
And that is why I feel the need to address this subject now…. why I feel now is the most important time to talk about regrets… because quite honestly… I don’t like life… It’s awkward… it’s frustrating… it’s painful… Your value is based on things you can’t do or comprehend and the things you are talented in are called useless or impossible to be true. For the last 5 years now I’ve been stressed, overwhelmed, downcast, I’ve had a lack of purpose, seriously debated why I was even trying so hard to sustain such a meaningless life… In other words…. life can kind of stink!
I know that sounds harsh and overwhelming…. but I think it kind of has to be to understand the surprise I had to consider what I am about to say next… Because life stunk. I was in no way comfortable and really wasn’t enjoying it. I felt like there was very little to look forward to, and I’d be bound to more of the same old for the rest of my days. I was lost in hopelessness and heavy heartedness when suddenly I realized something…. There were really surprisingly few things in life I regretted doing!
It sounds crazy to think about it. I mean… the first thing people tend to say is “Man, if I had my time back, I’d have done so much differently. I wouldn’t have made those bad choices! I wish I could just do a do-over!” But the more I think about it, the more I am honestly thankful that I did make the choices I’ve made in life, both good and bad.
Now this isn’t to say I have no regrets entirely. I regret the stupid things I said as a grade schooler without realizing how it sounded. I regret being so overly scared of people and being afraid to ask for help between grades 6-9. I regret not trying out for the play or more clubs in high school. For not telling the girl I crushed on that I liked her. For giving into stranger danger when people tried to talk to me my first 7 years on youtube. For not pushing through my artists slump when I did webcomics. For letting negative criticism and cynicism talk me out of writing another novel for 6 years. For trying not to cause problems for people, for the times I focused on making “the smart and safe choice” over the choice I felt I had a chance in. For letting the talented people around me scare me into giving up things I wasn’t as equally talented in instead of drive me to improve. For trying so hard to work for the school system to get the grades and move forward, instead of getting the school system to work for me, to feed my curiosity and thirst for learning, and grow as a person.
There are a lot of things in life I regret…. but I’ve noticed a trend among them which may sound naive and cliche… The things I regret the most in life, most often tend to be the things I gave up on, or didn’t do, not the things I took a chance on and failed.
If you give something your best and fail, you can at least know you gave it your best. You will grow, you will learn, you will come back bigger and stronger. But if you decide to back out because people tell you you should just focus on the safe route, All you get out of it is the curiosity of what MIGHT of happened if you kept going forward… how much you might have accomplished if you truly tried your hardest and pushed yourself. And that regret is absolutely maddening!
One of the most encouraging discouragements of life is that we aren’t meant to survive it. So don’t stress so much on that, stress on what you put into it instead!