An Observational Thought: To Regret Or Not To Regret

How often do you stop to think about regret?

I’ve heard of plenty of people who claim to live with no regrets, but I’m not sure I completely believe them. Not only that, but I’ve been thinking (a.k.a. confusing myself) about a bigger question when it comes to regret:

Which do you regret more? The things you didn’t do…or the things you did?

Decorative wall art pieces are full of inspirational quotes about taking chances because living with the regret of not doing something can eat away at your soul (or something like that).

However, how often do you see bathroom wall art telling you about the other side of that sentiment? (One would think the bathroom is a logical place to regret something you did do…like ordering tainted meat for dinner. Too much information? Sorry. I regret sharing that thought with you now. See? I regret something I just did. But I digress…)

It really is an interesting question (particularly for someone as meticulously observant as myself).

Now, I’m not talking about the really big decisions like moving to another continent or dropping everything to become a professional boxer (or something like that). I’m talking about the everyday decisions we make that usually aren’t the decisions the wall artists are writing about.

I say that we need to examine the basic stuff you regret actually doing almost immediately…even when your gut says, “Take a chance!”

Say, how about a list?

Simple Things That People Usually Regret Once They Have Already Done Them:

  1. New Haircuts/Hairstyles. EVERYONE has at least one regrettable decision they’ve made about a haircut or style. Mine was a perm. I was sixteen. My hairdresser tried to stop me, but I was being stubborn. It wouldn’t be the first or last time I made a questionable hair decision.
Luckily, this was a wig. But I regret allowing this photograph to be taken.
Luckily, this was a wig. But I regret allowing this photograph to be taken.

2. Fashion Choices. You only thought whatever was “in style” looked good at the time because, by golly, a magazine told you it was “in style.”

This use of a giant bow just happened to be broadcast all over the television viewing area when I was 13.
This use of a giant bow (I’m glad it was cut off in this picture…there’s a lot more above the top of the shot) just happened to be broadcast all over the television viewing area when I was 13.

3. Playing With A Small Animal With Sharp Teeth. Just go ahead and add this to your list of stuff you will regret immediately if you do it. I have no photographic evidence of this one, but I was five, the hamster bit my finger, I wasn’t supposed to be playing with him in the first place, and I tried to doctor the wound without telling anyone. (Mercurochrome was bright red. I didn’t do a very good job of hiding that little problem.)

Without getting too sentimental, I will say that I have taken a chance on at least one thing I do not regret and I’m glad I’m working on it…photography. I also don’t regret this shameless plug for my Etsy photography shop.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/MeticulousObserver

(Ah, advertising.)

I get it–everyone has something major in their life that they feel they need to do in order to avoid regret for not taking the chance later. But, you have to admit, you’ve probably made plenty of small decisions that leave you with small pieces of regret.

As long as they’re funny enough to laugh at later, maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to take the chance.

(By the way, I don’t regret writing this. Not yet, anyway. I don’t think. Maybe. Possibly. Potentially.)

Author: Sara

Writer, humorist, photographer, knitter, bookworm, musician, and teacher.

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