I have many regrets in life but I regret nothing.
That sentence seems to contradict itself but there’s some truth in there. Just give me a moment to explain.
When I was young, I was often haunted by an incident that happened in school where I unintentionally hurt a school helper’s younger son with my ruler. Long story short, the “victim” of my crime stays in the servant’s quarters in my school. He was slightly older than most of us and often plays with us during recess. That fateful day, a bunch of kids were playing sword-fighting with him, and he being bigger than us, told the kids to hit him with their plastic rulers (swords) while he pretended that he was impervious to their attacks. Seeing the fun they were having, I rummaged through my schoolbag to find my ruler as well, except mine was a metal ruler…
With the enthusiasm of a true make-believe swordsman, I hit him on the head with the metal ruler. I can still hear his painful scream and the sound of an older kid reduced to tears. He of course ran to find his bigger brother to seek out the attacker (me) and all i did was froze on the spot in what I understand to be an overwhelming sense of regret. That feeling was stronger than the sense of fear of his older brother seeking retribution.
Thankfully his brother did not hurt me that day and I was let off with a warning. I do still regret hurting the kid till this day due to my lapse in judgement, but I regret nothing. I was young and stupid and i cannot undo what I did so I forgave myself and moved on. Mistakes were made, so be it.
Many years later and I’m now an entrepreneur in a young IT business, burning long hours to make deadlines for projects after projects that came to us with the Dotcom boom. An old friend turned up in my office one day, wanting to chat and to see if there’s anything he can do for me. I was busy and so crucial to my business and had little time to ‘entertain’ this friend that seemed a bit off as well. We had lunch and we talked about old times. He made me a gift with what seemed like bits of his childhood toys, and we parted ways. Due to busy-ness (I like to tell myself) we never met again. A few months later, this friend of mine passed away suddenly and voluntarily. I still regret it today, that I did not do more to stay in contact with him. Perhaps all he needed was some encouragement from a friend…
So you see, I have regrets about the things I did not do enough but I regret not the mistakes I actually made because I took action, no matter how stupid those actions looked on hindsight. We live and learn and grow only when we dare to act. We pray and plan and take advice, but in the end we should never ‘play it safe’ for that’s the quickest path to regret.