Ah, regrets. I wish I hadn’t sold the IBM stock my grandmother gave me fifty years ago. I wish I had asked my dad what he did before and during the war? I wish I hadn’t said, “Who would want to learn German!” to my sister-in-law whose parents immigrated from Germany and is fluent in German. (I’m still trying to make up for that verbal slip-up.)
But do you have any regrets? It’s natural to have occasional regrets about the past because we’ve lived long enough to have plenty of those “I wish I had done that differently” moments.
But how can we accept what has been and look ahead instead of back, so we can live without carrying a basket full of regrets the rest of our lives? Margaret Manning posed that question in her March 2015 post “How to Live Without Regrets After 50” on the “Next Avenue” website.
She identified several tips.
Talk to Someone. Even though it might be embarrassing, share your feelings with someone else. You might even discover another perspective you hadn’t considered.
Get Back into the World. If you find yourself more isolated because of your regrets, that’s not good. Isolation just makes any problem worse. But if you don’t feel comfortable jumping back in with a splash, start slowly. Just don’t get stuck. As Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going!”
Find a Way to Forgive Yourself. Aren’t regrets just a way of punishing yourself for things you can no longer change? Stop beating yourself up. We are often our harshest critic by ignoring the good we have done.
Acknowledge Your Regrets and Move On. Forget the mistake but remember the lesson. There is a popular saying from the movie Slumdog Millionaire, “Everything will be OK in the end – and if it’s not OK, it’s not the end.”
Learn to Live in the Present. What’s done is done, and what will be will be. To help train your mind to live in the present try meditation, yoga or prayer.
We are who we are as much from our mistakes and the lessons learned as we are from our successes. We all have regrets - just don’t let them consume you. Share your feelings, stay involved, forgive, be kind to yourself and move on. There is so much more to live.
“Writing Prompts” will be Kerry Cobb’s next class at the Center on Tuesday, June 4 at 1pm. As Kerry explains, “Everyone has a story to tell, and in this workshop, we’ll explore writing simple, short thoughts by means of prompts that will get your creative juices flowing. Everyone is invited to this fun and easy exercise. No writing experience necessary - just a desire to have some fun and share.”
There are two free lectures in June on the Aging Brain presented by Dr. Timothy Jennings, MD: “The Aging Brain - Proven Steps to Prevent Dementia and Sharpen Your Mind” on Saturday, June 8th from 10:00 – 4:30 at the MCMC Medical Office Building A and B. And “The Mind, God’s Design” at the same location on the night before, Friday June 7th at 6 PM. For more information on either lecture, you can contact Joyce Browne at 541-200-0111 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The name of the Broadway musical based on T. H. White’s novel The Once and Future King and ran on Broadway from 1960 to 1963 was Camelot. It included the lyric that President Kennedy was especially fond of, “Don’t ever let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was Camelot” which was written by Alan Jay Lerner, JFK’s classmate at Harvard. Since I will be visiting my daughter in San Diego, I’m submitting this column waaay early. I will list all the correct responses next week.
I’ll end the month with one more Broadway musical question - this one is from 1965. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of the musical that told the story of the "mad" knight Don Quixote and his manservant Sancho Panza? Email your answer to email@example.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with a recording of “The Impossible Dream”.
Well, it’s been another week, counting my blessings. Until we meet again, if you wake up feeling tired and blue - pull back the covers and get out of bed.
“If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate you are bound to wake up somebody.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow