Walks Along the James (Bridges Addition)
I just don’t want to regret things. I look at my life and I measure its value based off what “future me” will deem acceptable. I’ve heard so many stories and listened to so much advice and I know time goes by quickly. One day I’ll wish I were younger. I’m not old enough yet to wish I were younger now, but that day will come, much sooner then I’m prepared for it to come. Five years from now, seven years, ten, fifteen. Soon I’ll long for the good old days when I was younger and freer and didn’t have quite as many bills…right?
I don’t want to do that.
I don’t want to be that person.
I want to be 30 and excited about being closer to 40, 40 and be excited to be halfway to 80. I want to understand every day that today is my good old day. Today is the best day yet. Years ago were fun and good, or maybe long and terrible, but leave them where they are because today will be wasted if you don’t. Stop finding things to complain about and reasons to be discontent because then you’ll look back on life with regret.
I don’t want to regret, do you?
Right now, I’m only just old enough to start seeing the difference between a good life and a bad life. I don’t wish for youth. I never want to be younger than I am now, but I also don’t want to be older. I know youth is wasted on the young and wisdom on the old, so I just want myself to mature quicker than I age. I see older people and love that they’ve gained so much but hate that I’ll have to live that long to get to where they are. I wish for their knowledge, experience, and perspective now without years slipping into the past in order to build my ladder to understanding. If I could have the knowledge of a 100-year-old woman in my 21-year-old body, then I wouldn’t worry about regret, would I?
Or maybe I would.
What does she have that I don’t?
A past. A bad back. Perhaps cancer? I don’t want those things. I’m picky. I want to pluck the good out of the bad and live on like that, but even after I make my selections, I’ll need to maintain them. Good doesn’t last in our bad world. Life takes effort. Good attitudes, healthy perspectives, and a willingness to be content with the experiences you have, are, and will experience later is a constant decision. The only automatic in our world is an inclination toward the wrong.
I don’t want to regret things.
So I won’t.
The psychological definition of regret is, “a negative cognitive/emotional state that involves blaming ourselves for a bad outcome, feeling a sense of loss or sorrow at what might have been, or wishing we could undo a previous choice that we made” (2018).
While it’s certainly a necessary emotion for correction in the case of wrongdoing, to make adjustments for future decisions, and in order to be relatively human, living in a constant state of regret for what has already passed is a waste of your future. What you do now is an investment in what you are capable of doing later. Therefore, an hour spent with envy, worry, bitterness, or wishing that thing from the past hadn’t happened exactly how it happened won’t lead you to your desired outcome.
No matter who you are, where you are, or how you came to be the person you are, there’s something you can find to regret. There’s no grass greener then your own, so why do we keep searching for it, especially when–even if we happen to find it–it won’t be as green once it’s in our hands?
I still don’t want to regret things. I still often look at my life and I measure its value. I still know that time goes by quickly. Five years will pass, seven years, ten, fifteen. But I’ve found that in your struggle to get ahead, you may discover yourself pushed far behind, so stop struggling. Do your best. Don’t worry.
Your future will be no more perfect then your past, but it will be yours. It can be good. Make the best of it and don’t be fooled into thinking there’s greener grass.