The Wisdom of Regrets

December 31, 2012

Every one of us have regrets. Those who claim they don’t are liars! We all have regrets in one shape or form to varying degrees.

Shattered dreams, what could have been, if only…. lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back. That’s part of what it means to be human. Somewhere deep in our heads, I reckon – there’s a little temple and if you walk in – you will probably see the many symbols and metaphors in this building written only in an alphabet only you can understand. And no one else. A dress, shirt, color, voice, smell, feel, sound, touch, sensation – and these are really all the sum of the memories of our regrets as they intermingle with the present coloring the future. We may not even be conscious of this exchange where so much of the past can always be trusted to wash up ashore to the present. Or how it may even be responsible for coloring the future. As in truth, we all have absolutely no idea how so much of what makes up our entire being is to be found in our past and so much in our regrets.

To regret is not a bad thing. Not at all. As it could well be the only reason for those who know this secret of life to always strive to live in the present instead of the past.

Darkness 2013

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“If you ask most men in their death bed what is probably their greatest regret in life – it will really boils down to, I could have been a better son, better husband, better father. This shows you that regrets are not all bad. Not all the time at least. I see it like good and bad cholesterol. The good regrets can point you to do what is right and even sensible. The bad ones can either cripple you for life or leave a scar so deep that it will always be the only thing you will ever see in the present.

Regret. Are you ready? I am a father of three kids. I regret that I cannot be a better husband and father.

But as soon as I write this. I am seized by an almost instinctive need to defend and qualify myself by underscoring the defense in plea, that’s because I have to turn the wheel of life outside Singapore as a farmer. Now let’s consider this a social experiment and ask: Why do I feel this compulsive need to defend myself? Maybe I am trying to take the edge off, softening the blow even. As if what I really meant was I regret that I cannot be a better husband and father. Then I think it should just end right there, as it is. And there you have it regret in the palm of your hand.”

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