We live in a world filled with emotion. Love, and laughter are among those we seek, sadness, and fear, are among those we try so desperately to avoid. When I think about emotions and how some people seem to have them under complete control, and others seem to grasp eternally trying to capture a feeling even if just for a moment. If emotions were like animals on an African plain which one do you suppose would sit as king? Which emotion would be the lion of our world, the one who rules over all; based on the sheer power it possesses?
Make your choice, declare your victor- I don't need your agreement. For me nothing holds the power of regret. Now I'm not saying that my life is filled with regret, much the opposite I've been fortunate to escape regret many times, usually with a little help. When I was a young boy I dreamt about hockey, of playing hockey, and it could be said that I had played hockey. I played on the streets, and driveways, and at the school yard, but that wasn't enough. I wanted more, but not so much as to ever dream of playing as a professional in the NHL, I just wanted a real area, a bench with my team, and most of all a jersey hung loosely over my shoulders. It was a dream that never happened as a youth and to be honest I can't really lay any blame. Between circumstance and my own failure to put any real effort into changing my fate it just didn't happen.
I surely let the world know about the injustices of my youth. I whimpered, and mumbled words of self pity just near enough, just loud enough that I might receive a bit of sympathy. One day while in a sports store I was caught a little by surprise when I let out one of my hockey related whimpers and my wife Melissa stopped me, and put me on my heels. "Then buy the equipment and play" she declared. I tried to step away, but she wouldn't let me. She grabbed a clerk and sternly said "My husband wants to play hockey, he has nothing, he knows nothing, and he isn't rich. Get him just what he needs to get in the game, and live to the end." I began a protest, but she looked to me and said "Play now or shut up forever. It might not have been in your power or control in the past, but today it is. If you don't play now you have no one but yourself to blame, and I won't listen to another word about it".
I did buy the equipment, and I did play. I was twenty nine years old well past the prime age for learning ice hockey, but I played, and continue to play to this day. It didn't stop with hockey. I raced my first motocross race at thirty five, flew in a plane for the first time at thirty eight, and I've added many other firsts that were far more interesting to me than they would be to you. These are my happy endings, but I think about how I held on so tightly for all those years to things I hadn't done. I might have never let go of those regrets if not for a good person helping me past them.
Regrets aren't always stories with happy endings. They aren't always about simple things like the game of hockey. A simple harmless mistake that led to a truly life altering event. What about the opportunity lost to speak the words that have squeezed your heart for many years because the one you need to speak them to has left this world. We can never be sure that a second chance will come, but we sit paralyzed by fear or the failure to see the consequence until one day all we are left with is regret.
Regret has no friends, no mercy, no forgiveness. Hate, and anger fade with time but regret grows stronger with each passing day. Regret will share the rest of our days with us if we let it, and strangely most of us do. Don't take my words as an evil sentence of suffering. Instead take action here and now. Regret has nothing but a smile for our poorly fabricated excuses, and if we don't take action with the same urgency we would feel if we were drowning then regret will be the hand that closes our eyes that final time. There's nothing to decide. You know that place you need to see, you know that call you need to make, you know that when we stop living, then we are just just fast tracking ourselves to dying.
Feed your body well, move it everyday and make friends with your soul. You'll find yourself in a better place, a place where regrets are terribly uncomfortable and dare not go. Remember that sometimes you need to be pushed, sometimes you need to push someone else, and sometimes you need to push yourself. Following dreams, and washing away regret isn't easy, but like they say it's better to regret what you did, than what you didn't. If you need a good group to help you reach your goals try our Accountability Group, we'd love to share your journey with you.