Before we die, we all want to accomplish something. For some, the goal is to get rich, famous, socially recognized. For others, the only thing that counts is to find love, to have children and start a family. But sometimes, our goals can change after an incident. Once, I was interviewing one of my professional contacts, who told me he just got a daughter, at 53. He got married only two years ago. Before that, he was busy working all of the time. Since I know him, he had always swore he would never get married and have children, but three years ago, he survived a terrible accident where he was the only survivor. He got paralyzed for months and began thinking about his priorities in life. He also realized that, during his time at the hospital, no one would come and visit him except his two assistants from time to time, and only for work. When he got out of the hospital, he decided to slow down his professional life, and started to flirt with one of his collaborators who patiently endured all his temper tantrums during meetings.
Sometimes, we don’t even need a disaster to review our priorities. Simple regrets can have a powerful subversive effect on us. One of my friends recently tried to get in touch again with her ex, twelve years after their breakup. She realized how much she missed him when she registered on Facebook. She told me she hated when their relationship ended. They had to call it quits because they chose to study in different countries, and their distance relationship couldn’t resist. She lost him out of sight because they were in different countries. And she forgot about him, until Facebook. She wanted to know if their relationship could have a second chance. “When we dated, we were too young and not sure at all what we wanted. At least, that’s what I thought. I need to know if we could make it through again. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he’s changed completely” she said. She did meet her ex, but their first encounter was very cold. She hasn’t given up, though. But I’m not optimistic it will work the next time. I told her to listen to her heart, and until she hasn’t got a clear answer to what she’s looking for, maybe she should go on. I just hope for her she won’t be too disappointed if things don’t turn the way she expects.
Regrets are powerful. I have a friend who says she never hesitates to do something because she knows she will regret it afterward. And she said regrets make you bitter.
So, have regrets ever driven your life?