Member Rara Avis
Regrets? I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention. (Sorry, Frank, that just slipped out before I could stop it.)
More seriously, I guess it depends on your definition of regret. If you consider regret to be a "wish to change the past," it seems everyone agrees that is unwise (not to mention impossible). But the on-line definition of regret is "A sense of loss and longing for someone or something gone." And given that, I don't see how it's possible to live life without having some regrets.
Every decision we make is a fork in the road, one branch taken and one left forever behind. And no matter how much we find yet in front of us, no matter how much we believe our choices were correct for us at that time, there is so much more always left behind. Life is too short. We can never have it all. And I think the losses should be regretted - perhaps even treasured - as a part of us we never allowed to grow.
My personal regrets could fill a large book. I regret the loss of friendships, faded because I was busy "doing" and rarely "being." I regret the loss of relationships, forsaken because I was too young and foolish to extend forgiveness or too proud to ask for it. I regret the loss of growth, because there was always a "later" that seemed soon enough. Every loss has always been offset by gains - new friendships, new relationship, new and greater opportunities - but I don't think the gains can ever lessen the loss, nor should the losses ever be forgotten. Bill and Jan, childhood friends, Steve, a best friend, Dennis, Jim, and Angela, friendships long lost to time and distance. Sharon, Annette, Susan, Kristine, the Ashley that couldn't be, the children who grew up too fast and too far away, the mom rediscovered only to be lost. The books I could have written, the paintings I should have painted, the races never entered, the myriad interests and classes never pursued. So many, many losses.
Our decisions define our life, but it takes more than that to define our essence. And I think at least a small part of that has to be the "might have been's" that comprise our history, the intricate web of paths we could not or would not take. Life is too short and we can never have it all.
And maybe that, more than anything, is what I most regret.