Mistakes. We all make them. That's just a part of life. But how do you learn to live with your mistakes? Do you let them haunt you. Do you regret your bad decisions? Or do you just move forward?
I'll admit that I often get caught up on the past. If I made any kind of mistake - if I was five minutes late, if I forgot to do the dishes, if I said something awkward at a party - I'd let it haunt me for hours, days, weeks. Months, sometimes. Even now, years later, I can remember the most insignificant "failures".
Since I took up journalling in 2011, I've been making a conscious effort to change that behaviour. I try to take the old maxim "Don't sweat the small stuff" to heart. Journalling is a strange way to do this - a journal preserves all those tiny moments, at least if you journal in the detail that I do. But it also gives you a great sense of perspective. The things that mattered to me four years ago, the moments that made me want to tear out my heart, are simply not as important as they once were. I will never call them trivial - I think that all suffering is relative, and my skin was thinner back then - but now I know that the world didn't end because I got a bad grade. The world didn't end when the boy didn't call me back.
The scale of my mistakes has grown. You grow up, life gets more serious, and that means serious success and serious failure. The thing to remember is that it is a continuous scale. The things that seem like the end of the world now won't matter when I'm 80. The absolute worst thing to do is to stop. You have to, have to make decisions and keep moving forward. Make choices. Make bad choices. Just don't stop.
I try not to regret things. Everything that has every happened to me has shaped the person I am now. Everything that happened is done, over, unchangable. Regret seems wasteful. I can think of a few occasions where I wish that things had turned out differently. I wonder what the trajectory of my life would be if that thing hadn't happened, or this thing had. I don't regret these things. Sometimes, though, I wish I had apologized. I wish that I had left things on better terms, instead of just leaving.
Do you have regrets? Do live in the past? Or have you found a way to keep moving forward? Let me know.
"You have to lean into life."
February 21, 2015