Living Regrets

In the tenth grade, I took a class on creative writing.  I hated writing, but I needed to fulfill some sort of credit requirement towards something or other and I had the option of choosing from different options and I chose this class.  I hated the writing (I might have mentioned that already…lol), but I enjoyed the teacher. Well, there is one thing about this class that stood out more than anything else. The teacher brought in a list of quotes by different people, one day, and asked each student to choose one quote and write about it.  I don’t honestly remember what quote I chose, nor what I chose to write about; but there was one quote that stands out in my mind and it is a quote that has perplexed me – and I know I didn’t choose it as my topic.

The quote: “Live a life without regret.”

I could not even tell you who deserves the credit for this quote (As you might have noticed, my blog is very free-thinking, I rarely cite anything), but it has stood out in my mind, since I first heard it. There comes a time in a lot of people’s lives, when they can see the things they should have done with their lives.  In a lot of ways, I have nothing I should feel regret for doing; but there are many things I do feel regret – and most of those have to do with not doing something I felt nervous about.

For example, I have always lived my life with a heightened sense of risk awareness – I tend to take the road that is commonly traveled.  Granted, that wasn’t always the case – especially during my young adult years – but over the predominant portion of my life, I tended to make decisions that would be acceptable to others.  I can give a whole list of examples where that was the case, but there are three particular ones that stand out in my mind over the past few days.

In 1990, I was accepted and enrolled in a school for engineering. I wanted to be a Chemical Engineer, because I found mathematics to be an exciting topic and was very adept at chemistry.  During high school, I had a strong interest in protecting the environment and I had every intention of enrolling in school to learn about cleaning and treating water – not just waste water for municipal use, but treating natural water sources. I had this idealistic mentality that I needed to be focused on one of earth’s most treasured resources: water.  Unfortunately, I was also beginning to make mistakes in my young life, dealing with the fallout of my parent’s divorce and engaging in a relationship with a woman that was not healthy for either of us.  As a result, I dropped out of college and pursued a different career.  Eventually, I returned to college, finished my degree, and went to work in the oil & gas industry.  Granted, I had started a family by this time and felt that my life was no longer my own and that I owed it to my family to provide for them the best way I could – I found a job in an industry that paid well.  There are a lot of feelings in this topic that I could discuss, but ultimately my point is this: I regret not sticking to my dreams at the time I formed them.  I feel like water treatment, water sustainability, and all things water are going to be the “new oil”.  In fact, over the past 10-15 years, there has been drastic increases in technology, business development and interest in water reclamation, water treatment, and water conservation.  I feel like it was something I should have trusted myself on. It felt like a gamble at the time, and I can look back now and think to myself that I was too short-sighted. It would have been the greatest place to put myself, in terms of a career.

Another thing I regret is the fact that I never pursued what I wanted in relationships. I never sought what I was afraid of not getting. For example, there was an episode of How I Met Your Mother, where the characters are discussing that every relationship has a reacher and a settler. Some people settle and some people reach – I am a settler. I settle for what I can accept and I rarely reach for what I want. On the one had, it makes me think that I’m the kind of asshole that thinks he’s better than he really is, but on the other hand I wonder if this idea is part of the reason I have so much anxiety and disappointment with myself.  There are so many different situations that I have pondered the idea of “What if?” and then settled because it was safe.  I once had a date with a woman, many years ago, who told me that the reason I struggle in relationships is because I’m too afraid to take a leap of faith. I know I have mentioned that my marriage struggles at times, and sometimes I know it’s because I don’t set any healthy boundaries within my relationship that will demonstrate that I have a set of standards that I know will make me happy. I’ve often wondered if I stay because I’m terrified of pursuing what may or may not make me happy. I’ve often wondered, if I’m happy, but I don’t allow myself that option because of other things within the marriage. And then, I often wonder, if I really am the ass-wipe I feel like I am in the marriage.

Another thing that was on my mind the past few days is my sexuality. Even as often as I discuss it on this blog, there are times I am reluctant to discuss it for fear of the insinuation that I should leave my marriage and come out as gay – because that’s what I really am, right (This is a common misconception a lot of bisexuals face – the idea that we are in transition)? Sometimes, however, I think I missed out on the opportunity to explore this side of myself. What if I would have accepted my sexuality? Did I hide myself for the right reasons? There are so many things I regret about this, it’s hard to wrap my mind around them. I have finally come to a point in my life that I don’t regret what I have done, but there are things that I regret not doing or exploring. I know there is always the idea that I could do it now, right? I could up and change my life drastically and do what I want, but at the same time, I think that I am not really interested in being selfish either.

Of course, the alternative to regrets are action, right?  The old adage that I could shit or get off the pot comes to mind, as I write this post. I mean, if I feel like I want to be into dealing with water conservation issues, there is nothing stopping me, but myself. As to my marriage?  Well, I can be me. I don’t have to continue to allow things to happen when I don’t want them too, right? I can begin standing up for myself, right? These are things I can do, I don’t have to accept less than what’s best for myself, if I don’t want to.  And my sexuality is solely on me to accept or not accept about myself, right?  A year ago, my therapist had told me that labeling it may not be what’s best for me. Maybe I need to just accept my experiences. Truly, I find the label to be somewhat comforting, because it allows me to understand myself – I tend to be a black and white thinker, afterall. But I do know that I have come to a place in my life where I can admit that I like what I like – and sometimes it’s nice broad shoulders with a well defined physique and sometimes it’s some T & A.  It is what it is and it doesn’t have to be anything I have to feel horrible about.

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16 thoughts on “Living Regrets”

  1. It is what it is indeed, my friend. Regret seems an awful waste of energy to me – always has. I can’t change the things I’ve done and I’m not all that sure I would if I could. They’ve all gone into the shaping of the person I am right now. So why regret it? Especially when every morning we are presented with a new opportunity to follow our dreams, embrace our desires and defeat our demons.

    Go for whatever YOU need to be the happiest YOU can be.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I just wish for you to live the life that fills you with the most joy and peace possible.

        It’s not always altruistic mind you; it’s simply a fact that if you start overflowing with joy, some of it will spill over onto me as well 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have regrets but I don’t think dwelling on them does me any good so I try not to. But I think we all do things we wish we hadn’t. I like this self-reflection you are doing and I think it’s really important, esp if you want to make changes. But yes, changes are hard. I often know what I want but then second guess and drag my feet because actually making the change feels impossible. So I can relate. I wish you all the best! You’re in my thoughts. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh regrets I’ve had a few… I constantly chastise myself for many of the decisions I’ve made. I know I’d change a lot of things given the chance. I’ve wasted half a life after all. Well wasted may be a bit extreme… As to settling and teaching, I’m probably going to regret putting this in the comments but here goes… I reached for the man I wanted, I definitely didn’t settle. But I always fear that he did. As a result, I worry that he could’ve done better or at least maybe that’s in the back of his mind. Being the reacher has its psychological drawbacks, too. The whole self esteem thing. It hits harder later in life. These things didn’t occur to me when I was young and newly in love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s kind of a sucky way to look at relationships. I can see the drawbacks to either situation – reacher or settler – but I tend to prefer thinking in terms of compliments, and I think an ideal relationship is the one where both people have strengths that compliment the other’s weaknesses. Granted, that’s a little short on the explanation, so maybe it’s more about being able to assist each other in life, with the complimentary personality traits, but done in a way to make each person more empowered.

      But then again, what the heck do I know? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is a much healthier approach to a relationship. Filling in each other’s gaps. I recognize at least, that it’s my issue to overcome! And we can only control our own selves and responses to situations, right?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Change sure is hard. If it wasn’t so daunting just thinking about it i would make changes in some of the same things you mentioned. Why does it have to be so hard? Good that you’re looking inward though and thinking about it. That’s the first step.

    Liked by 1 person

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