So I’ve been thinking about regret. You hear people say, quite often in fact, that life is too short…blah blah blah. But guess what…it is! Death makes you think about all sorts of things. Am I working the right job? Am I working too much? Should I put more money aside to save for the future? Should I live in the moment and buy those crazy expensive shoes because they’re SO cute? Should I wait to have another baby? Should I travel more? Is that grudge really worth holding on to? (The list goes on).
In my opinion, it comes down to which of the options would we regret less in the future. Sounds a little “lesser of two evils” but that’s not necessarily what I mean, although sometimes it does come down to that. Bear and I had always said we would have another baby when Quinlan was around 3 yrs old. Well, throw a rare genetic mutation, vents, trachs, g-tubes, and seizures into the mix and you start to question some things. We had started talking about it and it was always something we wanted, a sibling for Quinlan. All of our medical family told us from the beginning that a sibling would be amazing for him. Kids with special needs thrive with other kids around. I hate to admit it, but it was a scary thought. What if we don’t have a nurse the day I go into labor? What if the baby is crying and Quinlan is desating? Would Bear and I ever get a date night again? It hurts to think about those questions now because unfortunately it’s another, less medical, world we’re living in. But, if things were different, which would I regret less in the future? Not having another baby, yet wondering what it would have been like, or having another baby and bringing more craziness (and love) into our home (PS – I would absolutely have regretted not trying to have another baby, just putting that out there).
There’s a lot that people can regret, but then it “wouldn’t make them the person they are today” if they didn’t go through with all of their regrettable actions. Isn’t that what people say? So is regret something we SHOULD have in life? Because it helps mold us? Regret for buying a white carpet then spilling red wine on it, sure, you can live with that regret. But I can’t think that living with regret actually helps make us who we are.
Looking back on what has happened in life, knowing what is happening in the present, I suppose you can wish that you did things different. But is that regret? If I had known what would happen on January 30, 2017, I would have spent every waking hour with Quinlan. I would have called in sick to work every day to absorb every moment. But if I say I regret not spending more time with him, I think I would be driven to insanity from guilt and sadness. Should I wish that we had kept Quinlan in the hospital for his entire life, knowing he could get on the spot care if he got sick or had a seizure? I can’t say I regret that because then we wouldn’t have had him home with us, for over a year, getting to wake up and see him every morning.
Now I’m going to be a hypocrite and say that there is one thing I do regret. I regret that it takes losing someone, to not want to live with anymore regret. We should all live a life of doing what makes us happy, and not living a life of what we think we “should” be doing (e.g., working too many hours a week, saving money for the future and depriving yourself of those shoes, waiting for the “right” time to take that vacation or have another baby). However, I’m the first to admit that it’s way easier said then done. Can we all cut back our work hours? No. Can we all go out and splurge on $100 shoes right now? Probably not. But maybe we could all learn from those whose lives were cut way too short. Perhaps we could all do something every once in a while that we wouldn’t have done before.
Will we ever really regret taking that vacation? I can’t imagine so.