Fancy word, that. Lamentations. Forget for a moment that Lamentations is a book of the Old Testament and recognize the English meaning for what it is: Regret.

“Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.” ~Sidney Smith, English Clergyman

I know. I know. Live in the present. Plan for the future. Leave the past in the past. Don’t regret anything. Right. Okay. Not so easy. I can not tell a lie. There are many a thing that I have come to lament over the years. Healthy? Probably not. But, I have found that identifying these regrets, frivolous and weighty, does draw me closer to some sort of healing. Honestly, I could probably benefit greatly from regular visits to a shrink … someone to whom I could vent about all my crap in an effort to “put it out there” and get it out of my head. Alas! Therapy is not in my budget. The result? You lucky people get to read about it all here!

  • Kilimanjaro. I should have climbed it while I had the chance, but … no. The depths of the ocean beckoned to me and I chose to get my scuba diving license instead. I don’t regret the scuba (even though I would have to recertify because I haven’t been on a dive in years), but I do regret not climbing Kili. There is still hope for that, I guess. I can hear my knees protesting quite vehemently at that thought.

  • Spandex. It would have been nice (circa 1990-1994) to have been aware of the fact that I was prancing around with an absolutely smokin’ athletic body. Clueless. Truly. I was. I should have utilized those … um, ASSets more efficiently and donned a hell of a lot more spandex while I had the chance.

  • There were a few “Aha!” moments along the warped path of my life that I shamelessly ignored. Hence, the warping. Ditto for refusing to listen to that inner voice screaming, “What the bloody hell do you think you are doing?”

  • I should have become an Egyptologist. As it stands, my obsession with said culture makes no sense.

  • There were two relationships prior to my failed marriage that deserved (yes, deserved) to have been pursued more openly and with total honesty. I wish the old me had been as bold as I am now. Those relationships would likely still have ended (maybe, possibly) but the method in which they came to a close could have left me with a lot fewer “what ifs” in life.

  • I regret not becoming fluent in Swahili while living in Kenya.

  • I haven’t graduated from university and it has been 11 years since I was in a collegiate classroom. I sacrifice enough, being a single working mother, as it is. I can’t fathom trying to finish school right now … emotionally, physically, financially.

  • Speaking of university … I should have pushed to attend a different one instead of acquiescing to the parental assumption that I wanted to attend the school where I ultimately landed.

  • Have you ever wanted a total do over? Mine? Summer, 1994.

  • I should have become a flight attendant. I absolutely, positively aced a mock interview with a senior flight attendant during some sort of career orientation something-or-other in high school. She encouraged me to pursue it. I didn’t. It would have suited me quite well. [sigh]

  • Photographs. I should have taken more.

  • I left a job once that I loved. I was good at it. I made great money. I adored the company. I was in a city that I had grown to love. I left. It would appear, hindsight being 20/20 and all that jazz, that the reasoning behind that decision was not quite as wise as once thought. Desperate? Yes. The right thing? Ahhh … who knows?

  • Twitter. Dude, I should have jumped on that bandwagon sooner.

    And, finally, for now …

  • I have always been a bit forward. I am, now, much more blunt and brutally honest than I was in the past … a trait, though sometimes seemingly harsh, I wish I had adopted somewhere around the age of twelve.

[Do I hear crickets chirping?]
I don’t know. Perhaps I really do need a therapist.

“With memory set smarting like a reopened wound, a man's past is not simply a dead history, an outworn preparation of the present: it is not a repented error shaken loose from the life: it is a still quivering part of himself, bringing shudders and bitter flavors and the tinglings of a merited shame.” ~George Eliot, Middlemarch


  1. Ya know, I really don't regret my decisions--even the really, really bad ones--they've left their marks and made me who I am. But I do regret, deeply, the ones that caused pain to others. I found this a while back--no clue where it came from, but found it rather fitting:

    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out and proclaiming, 'Wow, what a ride!'"

    Oh, and it took me 14 years to complete my degree. And it was worth the wait. I finished where I wanted with what I wanted! That section on highest education completed on surveys and medical forms? I finally get to check the College Graduate box. Totally worth it. Okay. Done. You can have your blog back now.

  2. Most of my major decisions I don't regret. Well ... the sane, medicated decisions. The sporadic, crazy, undiagnosed bipolar decisions sent my life veering off course. It's the missed opportunities that really get to me more than anything.

    I do want the degree. I really, really, really want it.

    Oh, and you are welcome to hijack my blog anytime! ;o)

  3. I found your list of regrets enormously refreshing as well as very funny. Much better than the shrink!

    It seems to me each of your items carries a bit of energy, a bit of you, so that the mere description of them enlivens you, and in some indefinable way puts these presumably expired options back on the agenda, perhaps magically transformed, edited into today's Beth zeitgeist.

  4. For myself I've never believed in regrets because first of all, I can’t change things from the past and secondly I don't know, maybe it's an unwillingness to acknowledge I may have messed up or done something better but I figure if given the chance again, knowing myself like I do, I'd do it the exact same way.

    You’ll probably roll your eyes at the screen reading this but I have a book suggestion, it’s the only self-help type book I own and it’s actually proven useful and inspiring – it’s called, “Coach yourself to Success” by Talane Miedaner.

  5. I regret the time I wasted talking to shrinks.

    I also regret the way I treated my parents.

    I imagine you know that it's said we regret the things we didn't do more than the things we did do.

  6. @Vincent ~ Perhaps they are not buried regrets after all and do have a chance to live again.

    @Lisa ~ Not rolling my eyes. I love having other opinions and suggestions. This is why I love the grand blogosphere.

    @rob ~ (((hugs)))

  7. For me, the key feature to notice in looking at the past is whether I’m truly processing it - healthy - or doing endless reps of internal monologs that really don’t change much over time and that keep me "stuck."


"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" ~Walt Whitman


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