Recently, I have been asked a few times, as we often are once we reach a certain age, if I have any regrets. And my answer is always the same. No, I don’t.
People are often shocked when I say that. “None? Not at all?” It is after all our job to learn from our mistakes and to do better next time. I’d like to think I have done that. Sure, sometimes I have been a slow learner and the mistakes have been repeated, but I do not regret them. “No” I reply, “Not any”, and here’s the reason why… I like who I am. If I had done things differently, or made different choices I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
I cannot change where I have come from, nor the factors and choices, both good and bad, that have influenced my life, but I can decide how they will affect me and the person I become from those experiences. Why would I regret the very things that have made me who I am? Regret does not change the past, it only hinders the future. Should of… would of… could of… These words, the very action of regret locks us in the past and prevents us from living in the present or moving forward, and there is so very much for us to be grateful for now, as well as much more to look forward to.
So what do I like? Checking my ego at the door and speaking plainly, there are many things.
I am loving and understanding, loyal and dedicated, kind and generous. I wear my heart on my sleeve and am an incurable romantic. I give of myself freely and am compassionate but don’t tolerate fools or those wilfully causing pain to others. I have the courage of my convictions and fight for what I believe in. I listen and my door is always open to those in need whether it’s as a cheerleader or a shoulder to cry on.
I am an optimistic realist (a rare breed) and believe in silver linings. I believe the universe is on my side, even when it has a funny way of showing it. I know things and I feel things that others don’t. I can read people - most of the time. I give great advice - most of the time. I can cook and sometimes do. I am open to feeling and experiencing the world, even knowing that it can and will sometimes cause pain. I believe in leaving the world a better place than what I found it, even if it’s in the smallest of ways.
I like my body and the bumps, scars and wrinkles that inhabit it. I like my freckles and the grey streaks in my hair (most of the time). I like my eyes, even though they give way too much away. I like that I laugh and smile a lot and I like the dimples that come out when I do. I like that I can find something to smile about, even in difficult times (well most of the time). I like that pain and suffering make me stronger not tougher or harder. I like that I spread joy.
There’s more, but I’ll stop, this is not about being a braggart but rather a soliloquy on my gratitude for all that I have become. It has taken a long time to to get to the point where I like who I am and it feels good. That’s not to say I am perfect, far from it, as those nearest and dearest will attest. As I have said previously I am still a work in progress. There are many kinks I still need to work out, and traits that need tweaking, but I am aware of them, have been for some time, this has been a long, slow and often painful journey of self discovery. I continue to work on those other traits and will write about them at some point in the future I’m sure. But for now, it’s so gratifying to be at a time and place where I like me, no regrets.