“Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable” (Sydney J. Harris).
I don’t know if I have regrets in life. But of course, there are things I which I had done or done better; hobbies I wish I had engaged in, subjects I wish I was good at, places I wish I had visited, people I wish I had loved or loved more or loved better. I wonder, I often wonder about such things. My friends tell me they have no regrets — at least nothing monumental, nothing that keeps them awake, nothing that causes them grief.
Some are good with numbers. They solve mathematical equations almost effortlessly. Calculus and algebra seem really easy for them; and others are able to pull apart, and then put together all kinds of mechanized or computerized gargets. I never was good at such endeavors and sometimes wonder how different my life might have turned out if I had such abilities. My skills are in different areas.
As amazing and smart as my friends are, there are so many thing I am capable of that confounds them. I could list them all, but why? I’ll put my ego in check. Let me just say it seems we all can’t be good and magnificent at everything. There seems to be some sort of comparative and absolute advantage involved. If you didn’t know such advantages, you’d think you are the smartest or the most dim-witted.
I have friends who, by the time they turned 25 or 30 were already successful in their chosen field. I also have friends who, at 25 or 30 didn’t have a clue as to what life was about. They wondered and wandered and gravitated between three poles. Some were lost; others simply enjoyed life’s meandering ways. A few others simply didn’t have the backing or the connection or the help needed to climbs life’s ladder. Life was tough.
Do you have regrets, or are you disappointed that you did not show appreciation for all the assistance you received while growing up? Do you remember the time you could have helped with a much-needed handout, but you did not? Remember the time when all a stranger wanted or needed was a dollar or a naira? Do you remember the time your pals needed a buck just to get by and stay afloat, but you refused to bulge, you refused to be kind and in fact, you did not want to be bothered. Do you remember?
You know, life can be tricky and fickle. It can be cruel and unforgiving. It can make nonsense of ones effort. You go through life prepared and ready for the big-moments, but somehow, the big and defining moments never comes; the opportunities you had hoped for never comes. You wait and wait and wait ready to ride the big waves, but strangely, the defining moment never comes. Even when you were ready, life passes by.
Life does pass by, you know. Life seems to have its own mind, its own ways of doing things. Life! Life doesn’t stop for any mortal. It is nonrenewable. It is unbankable. Ready or not, it keeps going and going and going and going and when your time is up, it is up. It respects no one; and is accountable to no one. Don’t you wish, every now and then, that life slows down or stop just for you to catch your breath or just to enjoy it some more?
How often have you wondered why life seems to come easy for some, and not for you? You go to some of the best schools, yet are unable to find a decent or commensurate employment; but those who barely made it through school are the ones in the corridor of power or in a position of decision. You are smarter and better suited, yet it is the gal with the better connection — by way of dad or others — who gets the appointment. Life!
You loved the best you knew how to: you were faithful and benevolent and did all that your partner expected of you; but in the end, he cheated and broke your heart and dumped you for a woman much less than you. How disappointing?
Whatever your woman wanted you gave. You are a good lover, a good provider, a good companion, a good listener and a great helper in and around the house. You were the kind of man women wished was in their lives. But this time around, your woman says you are beneath her expectations, that you don’t make her heart skip beats. Disappointing?
Regrets? I don’t know. I really don’t know. In my formative years, did I do all that I was capable of doing? I don’t know. Did I listened, took and followed all the advice that I was given? I really don’t know. Somehow, I think I did all that I was capable of doing; I did all that I was in a position to do. I did all that was required of me. So, I really don’t know if I have regrets or have things to be terribly regretful of. As for disappointments, well, that’s another matter. I have plenty of those. For instance, I am disappointed at the fact that I did not get this “school thing” done 15 years ago.
What are yours? What are your regrets…or disappointments? What would you do differently? Are you happy with life and happy with yourself? Or perhaps you need more time and more opportunities to catch up…to do this and that and everything that slipped through your fingers. Tell me…what do you regret most…how disappointed are you?
You turn 40, 50 and then 60 and then you wonder. Gosh, where has life been? What have you done with my life? Where was life when you needed it? You did not give of your time or of your resources. You did not volunteer. You did not fight for the causes you believed in. You did not raise objections when it really mattered. You did not stand on the side of truth or opposed the injustices being perpetrated on the weak and the voiceless. You were too lazy, too cozy or indifferent to fight the just and right causes. You did not give a hand when it mattered. How terrible, and what a waste of life if you did not live life to the fullest.
Sometimes, all life demands of us are kindness, forgiveness, and truthfulness; to love and to believe in something, to be tolerant and understanding of others. The brooding, the anger, the hate, and the injustices only make us regretful and disillusioned. Life is good and wonderful and all that. So, live life. Love it. Enjoy it. Soon, very soon it will be time to take our leave. That is life; live it my friends…live life!