Despite what some might say, it’s okay to have regrets. It just means you made a mistake and aren’t happy that you did. It’s okay to not be grateful or glad you made that mistake. It’s even okay to think you might be in a better, happier place if you hadn’t made that mistake. It’s okay to regret.
But… don’t live in regret. Living there, pitching your tent in that place, that’s where the downward spiral starts. That’s where the second-guessing and questioning your self-worth take over. That’s where you forget the good you have in the now.
For most of my adult life, you would find me in regret. And it’s not even the same thing as living in the past, though it seems like it. It’s not the present or the future, so where–or when–is it, you wonder? It’s that other place, that other time. The could-have-been. It’s okay to think about that ime.
Just don’t live there.
For a writer with depression, though, that’s like saying not to breathe. He can’t help but stick around in regret, because… it’s so unexplored. That could-have-been is the ultimate untold story. The most personal one. The one he so badly wishes to author. With the greatest of ease, he lets it unfold in his mind, and–if he’s fortunate–on the page as well. New relationships, the strengthening of old ones, new people coming and leaving, new achievements reached. Feelings and experiences and knowledge gained, lifetimes spent in utter fictional fulfillment.
The now becomes an odd, unhappy time. A time of great obligation and of great potential. Great miscalculation and great accomplishment. Regret. And hope. But if you were to honestly look at that could-have-been, would it really be as wonderful as your mind describes? Would it be worse? Would it be exactly the same?