Regret is a wondrous thing.
I know, starting a post with such a line is quite dramatic, and rest assured that’s the intent.
In its simplest form, regret is the realisation of where you are and the clear (and possibly, painful) awareness that you’d rather not be where you are. Tracing back, you reach a point where you decided something that led you to this regretful position. Some regrets are yours and yours only, some regrets affect people around you. I don’t know of a regret that can be undone, almost all have to be taken in stride.
There’ll be few or no occasions in life when we are faced with exactly the same circumstances. And that, I think is where the wonder lies. Every regret is uniquely full of learning possibilities. But it’s up to us to extract the full essence of the lesson rather than dwelling only on the contributing conditions of that regret. Living a life without regrets maybe desirable, but a life sprinkled with a few regrets is enriched by the knowledge of how and why we make certain decisions. The enrichment is always a cumulative process; a life full of regrets is a marker of our inability to learn.
Some people say that they have no regrets. That statement, I believe, cannot be taken literally. There are regrets; what these people mean to say is: that they have a better understanding of their ability to, and their capacity of, making decisions; that they have made good of the regretful situation and moved on. Our decisions cause the regrets in the first place, and it is our decisions again that get us out of regrets.
Perhaps then, the dramatic opening line of this post needs to change. Regret is not the wondrous thing. The environment around regrets that makes and breaks regrets is a wondrous thing.