Friday, April 13, 2012

No Regrets? Hell to The Yes I Have Regrets!

I'm sure at some point you've been asked, "What's your biggest regret?" If you're like 90% of people I know, you respond with the typical, "I have no regrets/everything happens for a reason/every mistake has made me who I am today."  Holy bullshit.

If you claim to live a life with no regrets, you are probably in denial, or you haven't fully lived, loved, or taken any chances. You can't tell me you don't regret hurting someone at some point, or not taking a kick ass job when you had the chance, or letting someone you love walk out of your life. To me, regret doesn't mean sitting around and obsessing about what could've or should've been; rather, it's a realization of "I f***ed up." You recognize it, learn from it, grow, and move on. In my opinion, regret is what drives some of us to evolve into better people.

I recently read this article, in which the author, a palliative care nurse, outlines the top regrets expressed by her patients in their final stage of life.

The reasons were similar in that each directly addressed the happiness of the individual. There was no mention of money or material wealth (in fact, many regret working so much); instead, the responses dealt with emotional happiness and the fostering of quality relationships.  The article really made me think: if I found out I had only weeks to live, what would be my biggest regret(s)?

Framing that earlier question about regret within the context of  your final days will likely change the views of all my "No regrets, bitches!!!" friends.

I'm a person who believes time is precious and shouldn't be wasted. I fill my days with activities (mostly work though) but I'm beginning to realize it's not just about the quantity of things I accomplish each day, but the quality of them, as well as the quality of people I choose to share my life with.  And that leads me to my biggest regret: I wish I would've quit more.

You heard me.

I wish I were more of a quitter. I can't tell you the number of times I've stuck with a situation or relationship that is creating drama and pain simply because walking away would be "quitting", aka an admission of failure.  This was the most true with the fiasco that occurred from 2007 to 2011(ish).  I told many many people during that time why I didn't/couldn't just walk away, even telling him at some point, it was because I wanted to 'win'.  Ugh.  Now he (at least up till now) is my biggest regret and mistake.

And boy how I did indeed learn from it.

I look around at people I know and realize that I'm not alone in my behavior.

There seems to be an ever growing abundance of martyrs and individuals willing to go down with the metaphorical ship because damn it, quitting is for losers!

Many times we make excuses for our misery.  We justify that many people have it worse than we do, and I don't disagree; I'm simply asking, is "not terrible" acceptable? 

I'll even go so far as to suggest that relationships and experiences filled with mediocrity and lack of fulfillment can be just as detrimental to your happiness as those which are outwardly negative.  Look at your job.  Your partner.  Your friends. Your neighborhood. 

Is there a reason to stay?  Or maybe, just maybe, are there things in  your life you need to quit?

Please don't take this as me telling you to give up on everything in your life that isn't perfect. 

It's not an implication that problems can't be resolved or that life doesn't have its ups and downs.  But let's face it: when something has run its course, you know it.

Therefore, maybe what we perceive as quitting isn't really quitting at all; it's acceptance. It's finally opening your eyes and acknowledging that you're dragging around dead weight that serves no purpose. 

So many of you (myself included) have eliminated the toxicity from your food supply, but what about from other areas of your life?

If you are focused in on the quality of your nutrition, why are you not so eager to demand quality from all of the other elements that comprise your day?

Simply put, if you are aware of things in your life that serve little value, you should cut them loose and reclaim every precious moment they've been stealing. 

Spend it with the people you love, doing the things that matter.

So friends, I give you permission to quit that which does not add value to your life.  

I hope that someday, you look back and celebrate your risks, forgive your mistakes, and come to the conclusion that your positive experiences far outweigh any regrets.