One of the writing prompts I’ve come across is to make a list of regrets. I’ve started three different posts based on this prompt, and this is the fourth. I’ve been turning this one over and over in my mind for about 2 weeks. I’m almost 50 years old, so I could sit here and type out a pretty decent-sized list of things I regret. For example:
· I regret not going away to university and having “the college experience.”
· I regret getting married (the first time) when I was barely 20-years-old.
· I regret cheating on that husband.
· I regret not getting my master’s degree immediately following my undergrad.
· I regret putting my career and aspirations on hold to support the career and aspirations of my second husband (the father of my kids).
· I regret moving so far away from friends and family to support that husband.
· I regret giving him so much grace when he cheated on me. (Take note, kids: poetic justice/karma/whatever you want to call it is a real thing.)
· I regret regretting any of this.
As I look back at each of these regrets, I can see how each one led me to someone or something that I learned from. If I hadn’t cheated on husband #1, I wouldn’t have gotten involved with husband #2. If I hadn’t gotten involved with husband #2, I wouldn’t have these two amazing children. If I hadn’t moved across the country, I wouldn’t know half the wonderful people I do, including the incredible man with whom I currently share my life. If I hadn’t shown husband #2 the grace I did during his shenanigans, I would have missed a major growth opportunity – a chance to level up spiritually.
I’d say of all of them, the career regret is biting me in the butt the hardest. I am in the process of re-certifying as a teacher and applying for positions. This is not easy after an 18-year hiatus, but it also isn’t impossible (as one person on one occasion told me). I am having to take some tests and dig up professional references, but after everything life has thrown at me so far, it’s a small hill to climb. Despite the current political climate and what goes on in our schools these days, I’m feeling excited about getting back into the classroom and using my education to educate others.
What I’ve learned in my almost-50-years is that we live with the consequences of our decisions. We can look back and beat ourselves up for the ones we think we could have made differently, or we can be grateful for the blessings that came from even the most bitter heartaches. The choice is up to us. Pain is part of the process and integral to growth.
While there are some things I wish I would have done differently, I can see that each perceived-shitty choice brought at least one thing with it that taught me something, helped me grow, or enhanced my life. So, do I really have regrets?