Longbored Surfer

2006.07.08 No Regrets

For a long time I've heard about people saying that they live life "with no regrets" and I haven't really understood it. I thought that, at times, it's impossible not to regret things from the past. How does one know if a well thought-out decision will end up being something that is regretted later? What I've come to realize is that this isn't what is really part of that "no regrets" thing. I think it comes down to doing (or not doing) those things that you know you're going to regret later.

Many times, these are the moments that end up haunting you mentally for a while. They're the things that potentially put you on a shrink's couch at a later date. They could be big things, or pretty minor things. I can think of a handful of things that I would change, if I could – a chance blown, an opportunity wasted, a bridge burnt before I got to it.

Yesterday I had one of those opportunities show up. It was really simple, yet something that I knew was somehow very important to me. I don't remember if I was influenced by an email, or TV program, or a conversation, or just a thought – I knew that the next time I saw somebody from the armed forces, that I needed to thank them for what they were doing.

With the increased patriotism felt during the week, and other thoughts of gratitude for those who render a service that I don't (and probably couldn't), I knew I had to do it; so I did. I have no idea what the guy thought as I politely interupted his meal and thanked him with all the sincerity I could muster for serving. It was totally random for him, but really important to me. Almost in tears due to gratitude, as well as my pride in accomplishing that strangly important task, I walked away, probably never to see him again.

One less thing that I'll have to look back and say, "I wish I would have…" to myself. I have plenty of those thoughts that stalk my mind already – just as you probably do as well. What's the hold-up? Why add any more to your list? No regrets – now I understand.

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