Regret isn't something I dwell on lightly or often these days. There have been the fleeting insignificant returned for shoes, and vintage dress that got away. The missed opportunity for a witty remark and the dismissed gut twinge that provided that imminent smack down in quick time. I could think of no present lingering regret, at least any that would be course corrective or provide meaningful lessons.
So hunting down regret required putting on the mud boots, you know, the deep shit boots required for wading through the messy muck of my life to test and nudge those long forgotten demons that no longer serve me. It required sifting and sorting through the long ago discarded trash to see what remains a smolder.
I sat down in the sorrow and the sense of loss, with the spoken words that could not be recoiled from a bitter tongue, aimed with precision at intended targets. I revisited my dissipated youthful looks and body. I would never trade the wisdom and physical pleasures my experienced body revels in and revisits, nor the memories that lay safe within my wrinkles, or the stories of a million touches held in my well used hands for the empty visual of youth. If only there could be both.
I gently caressed my past disappointments and dissatisfaction, many with myself and too many with those who missed my unrealistic life manifesto. They all whispered to me, go easy sister, go easy.
Regrets for me consist of things that didn't seem possible at the time. The after thoughts -- things not asked for or thought of in the moment, like knowing the meaningful questions to ask my mother before she died. Knowing about how she felt being a mother and a woman... the good questions came much later.
More time living my life on my terms, which required lessons not yet learned. More kisses, hugs and gentle pats on the back. Heavier on the Thank You, lighter on the middle finger. Listening more and questioning more. Less Martyr more Queen. Less complaints and more loving what I had in front of me, the way it was, the way I was. Less wanting more embracing. The impulsive tattoos easily covered presenting no threat to my life's trajectory.
I have felt the past sting of regret. I know how it rots the soul if invited in and allowed to stay... regret is seductive and salacious. It gives us an easy place to lay down our dirty, crude and obscene. It wraps itself around our sorrows, misgivings and pain when no other lover shows up. Regret allowed to dwell can be meticulous at keeping us from noticing the sweet smell of life wafting away with no hope of recovering lost moments and years. It can also be a valuable teacher with lessons of listening to our intuition and being present.
Life is layered with so many needs and decisions. Learning to embrace regret as a sacred learning experience can be a worthy check in to keep us in the present and moving forward. That's where our best time is spent. The best story we can continue to work on is right here in that delicious uncertainty of the now. My take away on regret -- always go easy -- be ever so gentle with yourself and let it all go.