regret (noun): a sense of loss, disappointment, dissatisfaction, etc.
This past week I have been stuck in the past. I haven’t truly realized it until now, but that’s exactly what it’s been. I’ve been overwhelmed with depressing emotions: sadness, fear, anxiety, and, most of all, regret. This overwhelming feeling of regret was what was really getting to me. I have never really regretted things before, and I had no idea what to do with this new emotion.
Let me give you some context. I’m still waiting to hear back from graduate schools. I cannot plan any part of my future when I don’t know if/when/where I’ll be starting school again. “Where am I going to live?” “Where am I going to work?” “How often am I going to be able to visit home?” “How am I going to move all of my stuff?” I absolutely CANNOT do anything to answer any of these questions and it has been driving me absolutely INSANE.
In a desperation to know something concrete, I started looking toward my past. (Easy to do when pouring over transcripts and finishing the last of my applications.) “What if I hadn’t taken those classes together?” “If I hadn’t crammed them in, I would have done better in them…then maybe I’d already be in grad school.” “Maybe I should have gotten rid of the extra distractions.” “What if I had slowed down and spread out my classes over three years instead of finishing in three?” Maybe then I would have been able to go right in to grad school instead of spending a year at home.” The “What if’s?” and the “Maybe I shouldn’t have’s…” have been NEVER ENDING and it really has been taking a toll on me.
I was talking to a friend one night earlier this week and finally just asked; I had to know what someone else thought about regrets. He said, “If you regret the past, then you regret yourself because the past is what makes you who you are.” I didn’t like the way he said it at the time; it was like he was pointing out every single flaw that I have in one simple statement. That one simple statement instantly built up all my walls and put me on the defense. I couldn’t believe that someone I care so much about could so easily tear me down like that. Obviously, I overreacted. But, really, he’s pretty smart and I’ve come to agree with what he said.
I am generally a happy person. I worked really hard to finish college in three years. I could have done it differently, but I learned a lot from doing it the way that I did. I love working as a physical therapy aide, and feel that spending more time in the clinic is something that I definitely needed to experience; I feel more prepared for school. And, even though I never thought I’d admit this, I usually love living at home. I’ve become close with my family and it is nice to have a home to go to at the end of the day, and not just a small apartment.
I felt singled out when he said that the other night and as if the spotlight was on my flaws, and to say that admits that I do have them. I do. I’m not perfect, hard as that is to admit. I am flawed. Past relationships and experiences have truly made me the person that I am today. I don’t trust easily. I second guess things. I am my own worst critic. I often apologize too frequently and for things that I didn’t actually do. I overreact. But instead of focusing on those flaws, I am going to focus on the positive aspects that have come through my experiences and shaped me. Once I do trust someone, the bond and relationship that forms is wonderful. I work diligently and thoroughly on every task assigned to me to make sure that I have finished it to the best of my abilities. When I do realize something less than ideal about myself, I usually do my best to correct the situation. I am incredibly passionate about the people in my life that I care about.
I’m not yet where I want to be for the rest of my life, but I have come to be content with where I currently find myself. I cannot let myself be overwhelmed with things that are in the past and are out of my control. Earlier in the week I was watching The Big Bang Theory episode in which the guys acquire a time machine. I thought to myself, “Man, I’d love to have one of those.” Today, though, I can honestly say I wouldn’t. I have made mistakes, yes, and I sometimes kick myself for them. But I have learned from them, and that’s the important part, right?