Regret is a funny thing. It really seems (to me) like a useless emotion. What is the point of wallowing in regret, wondering about something that you did, or didn’t do, about what might have been? I really believe that one should process things, figure out where one went right, and where one f*cked up, learn the lesson… and then move on. There isn’t enough time to worry about what might have been. We should focus on what is.
That doesn’t mean that I am always good at this. I look back over my past decade and I wonder where the time went, what did I really accomplish, why didn’t I do the things that I always thought I would do? Some regrets I have…
- I didn’t travel or see the world
- I never packed up and lived somewhere new, somewhere foreign, somewhere different
- I didn’t have the “typical” university experience
- I didn’t take care of my body
- I didn’t get outside enough
- I didn’t make enough friends my own age
Occasionally I have moments of sadness when I think of these things. Typically these moments are when I have seen people my own age and they have talked about their travels, their outdoor experiences, their college friends, ect. And I feel this pang, this regret, that I didn’t do that.
It isn’t that I didn’t do things. It isn’t that my twenties weren’t a valuable time. I think that I learned as much, got to know myself as much, discovered my own strength as much as any other 20-something does over those years. My experiences weren’t, perhaps, as rich as those other peoples but they were important. They created me as I am and I’m pretty happy with that person.
I think that those other experiences would have enriched my life and possibly made me a more interesting person. But I think that I would still have become the woman that I am today.
Sometimes I forget that 30 is still young. That those experiences are waiting for me and that I am working towards them.
Yesterday I went for a hike with my Mom. We decided to challenge ourselves and do Diaz Vistas in the Buntzen Lake area. It is a 15km hike that went straight up the side of a mountain, wandered the top of the range for a while, and then went straight back down. The views are probably incredible but yesterday it rained (a lot) and all we got to see was a sea of white clouds from the top. Beautiful in their own right I honestly didn’t mind. Although this is probably a not-too-difficult hike for many for someone who has barely hiked in the past decade… it was brutal, exhausting, and completely exhilarating. I loved every minute of it.
It was the first time I’d done something like that in a long time without guilt about taking the time, without a voice in the back of my head telling me that I was too fat and uncoordinated, without embarrassment. We were the slowest people on the trail yesterday. By far. But we laughed our asses off for almost 7 hours, had great conversations, got completely soaked by the rain and saw some beautiful places. We get to be proud of that.
It isn’t a huge accomplishment in the scheme of things. But the fact that I let go of the voice in my head that said I couldn’t? That’s huge.
My biggest regret is probably that I haven’t spent the past decade doing these types of hikes, that I haven’t backpacked, that I haven’t kept in shape so that these things are quite so difficult.
But I’m only 30. I have plenty of time to catch up. And wallowing in regret does nothing to advance my goals. So that’s why I’ve let it go. Why I’ve limited it to the occasional pang that’s quickly dispersed. I don’t have the time. I’ve got sh*t to do.