Friday, July 18, 2014

No Regrets

By Sarah Reichert

Recently, my daughters began training at the International Black Belt Academy.  I started itching to get back on the mats myself.  I am a completely different woman (mainly older and less spry) than I was the last time I bowed in a dojo, but I had always regretted stopping my training.  Watching them practice, brought up that ugly face of regret.  Where would I be now if I hadn’t stopped?

Regrets are festering things.  They are weights that drag us down into the past, where we lose our power to do much else, but sit alone with them.  We find ourselves looking back over our shoulders, and kicking ourselves for the things we did or did not do.  Sometimes, we’re so busy looking back at these irreparable choices, that we trip on obstacles before our feet, or miss the doors of opportunity that open while our gaze is away.  But how do we let them go?

Overcoming regret can be as easy as saying ‘I made the best choice that I could at the time’.  But sometimes the facets of our intricate minds are not always so easily placated.  Sometimes you know that you didn’t.  Sometimes, you took the easy road. Maybe you were scared or unsure.

One way to deal with the nagging “should-haves” is to pull the decision out from the past and into the light of the present.  If the situation and the desire exist, you could have the opportunity to take a second chance.

Writing can be this way as well.  My good friend and sister is a perfect example.  In her youth she could turn a sentence into a whole, vibrant world.  We knew that writing would be her livelihood.  Only, it didn't turn out that way.  Life does that to you.  It interjects.  It changes the rules and your priorities.  It builds walls too high and trenches too deep.

But one day, when you're wondering how to begin again, you pass by a rope hanging over that wall.  Sometimes there’s a hand waving ecstatically and a voice saying “Come on!  You can do this!”  Life changes just enough to afford you the time and the space to start over.

So take the rope.  Grab on to the hand.  Find the person or reason that inspires you to begin again.  Find that opening, that chance, to reinvest in your passion.  At the worst, you will learn that it wasn’t really yours after all, and you’ll be paid in knowing.  At the best, you will rediscover yourself and come to your old flame a new and stronger person.  You will wipe the regret away like dusty chalk on a board, and the question will cease to be “Where would I be?” and become  “Where will I be?”

Is there something in your life that you’ve given up and always regretted?  Will you revisit it?


John Paul McKinney said...

Sarah, This is really important advice. Sometimes when we can be kind to ourselves I think it's easier to put regrets aside and take that "second chance." Thanks for posting.

Sarah Sullivan said...

I began taking piano lessons for the first time, something I have always wanted to do and I am thrilled to have discovered this most enjoyable pastime. But really, I must know what happened to your friends sister who never became a writer????

Sarah Reichert said...

It was my older sister who had given up writing after college and children. But, she attended the conference with me this year and got re-inspired. She's taking a year off from teaching to go back to writing. I'm so proud.

How cool is it that you started piano lessons?! I love it. I think it keeps our brains young. Good luck. There's nothing like getting to play something and have it come out recognizable :) Thanks Sarah!

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