Oh regret, there you are again. You sneak up so often that I rarely feel like you are away from me. I don’t invite you in, but you frequent my mind and my body, my soul and my relationships. Regret leads to fear and sometimes the fear of regret halts my choices.
People say to live with no regrets, and it sounds great. The concept and thought are pure genius. Live your dreams. Do what makes you happy. YOLO. Unfortunately, I overanalyze. I stress and I critique myself. I over commit which makes follow through hard, I say yes to people when I know I should say no. I worry about what people think, what they may say, how I might be perceived. I have grandiose plans to be a great mom, a great employee, a great wife, a great daughter and sister, a great friend. Then, regret….
I regret my parenting choices. I lose my patience with the kids and yell. I don’t take time to play doctor or race cars with them and I regret that I’m putting work projects ahead of my time with them. It is hard for me to be present in the moment and embrace the opportunities in front of me. There is always something to be cleaned, organized, dusted, or sorted. Always.
I regret my eating choices. I can meal plan and food prep. I can Pinterest ideas and even print recipes. I can do it all and set myself up for success, but then… Night. Night is my time to catch up on work. The kids are asleep and it’s MY time. My time typically means work, wine, and late night binges. My body begs me not to and I tell myself to stop, but habits die hard.
I regret career choices. For 10 wonderful years, I walked the halls of the same elementary school. I learned the names of the students, the families that made up the community, the staff that embraced and challenged and supported one another, the dings in the lockers, and the scrapes on the floor. I loved teaching, but the balance between that and my young family felt impossible. I was pulled in all different directions and felt like I was failing everywhere. I regretted my time away from my kids while I was teaching. Now that I’m home with them, I regret leaving my students and miss them daily. Go figure. I can’t win.
I regret lost friendships. Ya’ll. Being a good friend is sometimes hard. I want to have endless friendships where I have countless supportive women with hours of free time to hang out whenever it works in my schedule. But that doesn’t work. Kids and traveling husbands and busy work schedules and life all get in the way. To my friends that I’ve lost touch with along the way, know that I haven’t forgotten you. On the contrary, I think of you often. I may not call, I may not email, I may not text…. But I think of you.
Today, I will set the goal of making a conscious choice to do ONE thing that I know I won’t regret. Just one. You have to start somewhere, right?
Do you live with regret? Do you have fear?
I would love to hear from you. Without getting into specifics (unless you want, of course) do you feel like you live your life in fear or with regret? Depending on your answer, what advice would you give to your younger self to eliminate this regret? How can we, as moms and as women, erase the regret that leads to fear?
I have teamed up with a wonderful team of bloggers who participate in “Five Minute Friday.” Here’s the skinny: Every Friday for nearly four years hundreds of people joined a kind of writing flash mob. We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that is posted by the the team starting at 10pm EST on Thursday night and all through Friday. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FMFParty (It stands for Five Minute Friday Party). No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.