Too often people trumpet their lack of regrets. Maybe they’re getting a divorce or quitting a job or lying on their deathbed—or simply arrogant enough to believe they have the ability to live entirely in the present. These people say “no regrets” and expect admiration, when really they’re just being childish.

Every adult is weighed down by a suffocating allotment of regret—it’s what makes us human, and what teaches us to modify our future behaviors. It’s why we weep, and why we persist in weeping. Maybe some people think it’s possible to make a mistake without paying their dues in regret, that they can simply absolve themselves of this burden through sheer willpower. Sorry, that’s not how the system works. When you make a mistake, you can’t just arbitrarily decide to not regret it. It is understandable that you fear the negative emotions associated with guilt, remorse, humiliation, and disappointment, but you cannot merely wish those things away. When you say “no regrets,” all I hear is, “I have the emotional maturity of a third grader.”

Personally, I can scarcely spit on a homeless man without feeling some small measure of regret. I do not hide from my regret; I truckle to it, and live in constant fear of it, and desperately seek to avoid amassing anymore of it, with the knowledge that I inescapably will, nearly every day. In retrospect, I’ve lived a life unduly burdened by doubt, shame, and especially regret. And this is something I regret very deeply.

19 thoughts on “Regret

  1. I don’t regret reading that. Or wait, should I? Fuck. Which ever answer makes me seem more mature is the one I choose. Who’s mature now, poopfaces?

  2. What I am hearing is your conviction of wrong-doing with the consequence of feeling regret. I agree that we do all have conviction, though some people choose to bury theirs. That it’s there shows that there is a template of right/wrong within each of us. But the only way to have freedom from the burden that comes with doing wrong is found in undeserved, perfect forgiveness.

    Cool site!

  3. Ha ha! I think you just came up with a new super hero idea – Sneaky Conversion Girl. Well, I’m not Catholic, but you are on to me. Religion aside, I do believe that the message of the Bible offers the only lasting way to shake off the weight of that regret that you mentioned. (I wasn’t so sneaky this time, was I?)

  4. I regret cruising the Sonoran desert for hitchikers that Summer/Fall of ’92. Most of them didn’t deserve it, though a couple of them did.

    I keep these feelings at bay with a steady diet of alcohol.

  5. I regret not having discovered this blog sooner! On the other hand, I have such a bright future to look forward to: Popping these posts into my mouth like bon bons. Why, there’s enough to last me until next month or so!!

  6. I love this, thank you. I also hate this attitude and cringe every time I hear some ridiculous celebrity say, “If I had it to do all over, I wouldn’t change a thing”. And then I yell at the tv screen, “Well, you’re a f****** moron!” Because if I had the chance to do it all over, I would do it right. I wouldn’t have teased the fat kid at my elementary or made my mom feel bad about not being able to afford that sweater I wanted. I would have gone after that guy who obviously liked me and I definitely would not have spit on that bum.

  7. truckle 1 |ˈtrəkəl| noun a small barrel-shaped cheese, esp. cheddar. ORIGIN late Middle English (denoting a wheel or pulley): from Anglo-Norman French trocle, from Latin trochlea ‘sheave of a pulley.’ The current sense dates from the early 19th cent. and was originally dialect.

  8. ruckle verb an ambitious woman who truckled to no man kowtow to, submit to, defer to, yield to, back down to, bow and scrape to, be obsequious to, be subordinate to, pander to, toady to, prostrate oneself to, grovel to; dance attendance on, curry favor with, ingratiate oneself with; informal suck up to, crawl to, lick the boots of.

  9. I trucklingly regret having looked up truckle.

    … and being converted back to Catholicism by sneaky, “oh I’m not so sneaky anymore” Michelle.

  10. I’m glad I’m not the only person who thinks the “no regrets” people are morons. I’m also glad I’m not the only person who who feels a ping of regret every time I spit on a homeless person. It’s getting to seem not even worth it anymore, no matter how priceless their expression.

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