Thursday 15 September 2011

Regrets, I've had a few...

 This morning one of my friends wrote this on Facebook:

If tomorrow was your last day what would you regret having NOT done...? Lives come and go every second of the day ...make sure your list of regrets is short.

Words to live by.  And in fact, words I HAVE very deliberately lived by for much of my adult life.  Thankfully, I've gotten to the age I am now and I can truthfully say that I have very few regrets.  I've been to most of the places in the world that I wanted to travel to (with a couple of notable exceptions).  I've gone almost to the top of my chosen profession, and now looking back I'm comfortable with my choice to step away when I did and not go that one extra step right to the top.  I've had a healthy number of personal relationships, gotten married and had two fantastic kids, when the time was right for me (and I've managed to stay married so far).  I've said almost all of the things that I've ever wanted to say to the people I care about.  I've made some fantastic friends that I don't see or speak to as often as I'd like, but I know they'll be there for as long as we're both alive.  I've lost touch with a few long-term friends in recent years too, but I'm OK with the choices I've made.  I can say quite calmly and with no regrets that I don't get along with my mother and probably never will.  I've partied hard in my youth, had a go at all the sports I've ever wanted to try, and I've been at the MCG when my footy team won a Grand Final.

There are some things I haven't done yet.  I've never finished a degree, although I'm working towards that now.  I've never been to South America, and I desperately want to.  One thing I've always regretted is about to be remedied, when I finally get to go and watch a band that I've always loved, who disbanded years ago, reform for a reunion tour.

Then there are the more difficult things, the moral choices and the purely selfish things you'd love to do, that pull you up and make you think.  Generally, these are things you're torn about because of the impact they may have on others.  For instance, I would dearly love to take off and backpack my way around South America for 3 months, like I did in Europe and North America years ago - but 3 months away now would be very difficult for my family.  I would love to throw myself full-time into building my own business, and do it properly - but again, too difficult for my family, too many other obligations.  I would love to relive certain parts of my youth that I won't go into here, but I would struggle morally with some of them now.

I had a discussion with a friend the other day, who said that if you spend too much time thinking about consequences then you never get to do anything you want to do.  This is true.  What's also true is that if you don't consider consequences, things can go wrong and people can get hurt.  Balancing your own desires with the needs of those around you is tough.  Having children changes you.  Until I had kids I was pretty selfish and I did what suited me.  Once you have a child, you want to do what's right by them.  Unfortunately, you lose a little (or a lot) of yourself in the process, and you do start missing out on things, which leads to regrets.  The challenge is finding the balance.


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