I suddenly woke up from sleep one dawn and couldn’t sleep again. As much as I tried, I wouldn’t sleep. I kept thinking. I thought and I thought till all I could do was to think and think and think. I played my life through my mind’s eye and assessed where I’ve been, where I am now and where I want to go.
I even had time to think of how I want to die and how I would like my family to mourn me; the wandering mind is crazy indeed. It was that single night of brief reflection that I realized my life is in trouble. I couldn’t account for some years of my life. “Where did those years go”? I asked.
It was that moment I realized I’ve allowed life to pass me by without knowing. I’ve had regrets I shouldn’t have had, too many of them. I’ve thrived just to make those regrets have the best of me.
What Are My Regrets..?
I have so many regrets at this point of my age. Many things I did some years ago still haunt me. There are a lot of things I should have done but didn’t do. That also haunt me in equal measure;
#1. Some years ago, I had a dream of starting a business. I thought of it deeply and discussed it extensively with people who would care to listen. I had few people who laughed at me and questioned my logic. Many others also told me it was a great idea. Guess what; I listened to the few people who laughed at my ideas and so I gave up. The business didn’t happen. I regret listening to those few who discouraged me. I regret not having anything to show today for such a great idea that I had yesterday.
#2. When I was in school, I went to a pharmacy store and there was some quite a long queue there. There was this old man ahead of me before I could be served. This man got to the counter and the world came to a standstill. I thought he was too slow. I thought he was wasting my time.
In my mind, I wished the lady behind the counter would ignore him and attend to me rather. I was in a hurry. After the lady had gathered all the drugs on the man’s prescription sheet, he was not able to pay for them. One after the other the lady had to take some of the drugs out until the man could afford to pay for what was left. It was only one drug left out of the many that the old man could afford.
Finally, the man paid and left the counter. Two minutes later I’d been served and also left. On my way out, I regretted everything that just happened. All of my selfishness became very apparent to me. I could have helped this man pay for some of his drugs if I wasn’t being selfish. Even If I couldn’t afford to pay for all of the drugs, I should have tried.
What if the drug the man couldn’t buy was the one his health needed? I had regrets. Even as I sit now I still regret that day.
#3. In 2006 I reunited with a lady I once knew. She was someone I sat in the same class with and had beautiful moments together. Many times she would call and ask when I was going to visit her. I always promised her time and when the time is due I find excuses not to go visit her. She never stopped calling.
I never stopped giving fake promises either. Finally, she stopped calling. Then I heard from a mutual friend that she has been sick for sometime now. I made the same fake promise again; I would go and visit her before she gets discharged from the hospital. Then one afternoon, another friend called and gave me the tragic news; “Solace died last night”.
I was so ashamed of myself that I couldn’t even go to her funeral. Today, I looked back at those promises and I regret everything. I regret leaving a friend when she needed me the most.
The list of regrets can go on and on till I have no space to write them on. Somedays, I would spend all times in solitude, thinking about all the things I could have done right but chose the easier path of not doing it at all. I get lonely when my regrets visit at nights.
Today I sit and reflect on how stupid the guy I was yesterday handled things. HE could have done it better and I wouldn’t have had so many things to be regretful for today. Sometimes, I wish I could go back and change everything. Then all of my mistakes, all of my guilts and all of my regrets would be no more but the truth is, I can’t.
So this is what I do instead…
#1. I take my ideas seriously, however stupid they sound in the ears of conventional wisdom. I put to test every idea that comes into my head. I don’t try to seek validation from people of the things I could and couldn’t do. There are so many reasons why it can’t be done but if there’s one reason it can be done, why not try it.
In the end, all people can say is; “We told you it cannot be done”. But then, I would have become a better person than not doing anything at all. More importantly, I will live with no regrets of not trying. That will save me from more pain in the future
#2. I don’t postpone kindness. When I’m in the position to do it right now, there is no reason for me to tarry. Life is difficult but when we hold each other’s hand, situations become better and each other benefit. I’ve been kind before. The feeling it gave me can never be compared to anything I’ve ever felt.
So each day when I start life, I start with the question; what can I do to help? I’ve become kinder. Each day, I look for situations that would offer me the opportunity to be kind; to friends, relatives, strangers and even animals. This way, I don’t get to regret later
#3. I’ve learned to become honest. Yeah, it’s difficult to become honest sometimes but no one can argue against the need to be honest each passing day. When you give your word, Follow it up with action. Then friends and people in your circle will take you seriously for the things you say.
Somedays I’ve been honest only when it suits my situation. Other days, I believe my life would have been better if someone chose to be honest. My dishonesty affects a life in the same way someone’s dishonesty affects my life. Who are we to be selective when it comes to the truth?
Above all, I’ve learned not to look back often. I’ve learned my mistakes and the things I do right combine to make me who I am and who in the future I will become. I’m here today because I made a mistake yesterday. When I make a mistake and lose something, it’s more painful. Most times there’s nothing to learn there and then. Because I’m angry, I’m disoriented and can’t think straight. Someday when all is settled, then I can see clearly the things I can learn.
No time for regrets even for people like us. Some mistakes leave in their place something we can hold on to. Some mistakes give us consolations. Sometimes the consolations are worth it in the long run.
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