Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Outside the lines

My friend Emily turned me on to this site called Secret Regrets, which is like a very specific, text-only version of PostSecret that is focused on what we regret the most. Here's one from a few days ago that caught my interest:

SECRET REGRET OF THE DAY: October 30, 2011
I regret I have so little to regret. I am truly sorry I did not go "outside the lines" more and live the grander life of which I was capable. I regret that there are not more broken hearts, damaged lives, irresponsibility in my life. It it an odd regret, but heart felt.

It's an interesting way to look at my life from the opposite direction, because sometimes I get down about the trail of broken, damaged and mangled lives I've left in my wake, mostly over the past 10 years since I strayed "outside the lines," so to speak.

And that makes me realize that there were, are, and always will be reasons I don't conform to other people's expectations of me. We are always "at choice" with the way we live our lives. At any time, we ourselves decide how we want to feel, who we want to be with, and in what direction our lives should take - no one gets to decide that for us unless we choose to let them.

I've always seen my regrets as the price I paid for exercising this freedom, and I always weigh the cost of my actions carefully. So while I certainly think back on choices I've made with regret because I now know the outcome of those choices, I rarely think I would have done things differently, given what I knew at the time. We can never know how things may have turned out if we'd taken a different road in life - that's why it's important to never lose your focus on the present and be able to improvise in the moment.