Non, non, je ne regrette rien

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The theme of this week’s blog post is “regret”. Cheerful, huh? Don’t worry, I’m not going to spiral into some depressive, introspective ramble that ends with me hunched over a whiskey and sobbing the names of ex-boyfriends. “Why, Brian? Whaaay?!” (Just kidding. I’ve never dated a Brian.)

While reading the blog A Writer’s Journey (which I highly recommend for fellow writers, by the way), I came across this passage:

They say you should live without regrets, but I disagree. That mindset would drive me crazy. Opportunities pass us by, we make mistakes, and sometimes we’re just too tired to keep up. Instead of living with no regrets, I want to always be able to say to myself, “At least I did everything I could do.”

I know that I, too, have been driven crazy by the idea that I mustn’t miss any opportunities. I must seize the day! Say yes to life! Not let a chance go by! We’re all food for worms, boys! (And other exhortations from Dead Poets Society.)

It’s exhausting, isn’t it? If you always say ‘yes’ to everything, eventually you end up looking like Gollum’s partied-out cousin. Life will ravage your face. You’ll be worn out and anxious and finding glitter in your hair that you can’t explain.

Some people, it’s true, are not born participators. They could stand to move outside their comfort zone a little more often, to try new things. But that is not true for me. The biggest lesson that I keep learning and forgetting and relearning is how to say NO. As in, NO, I can’t do everything. No, I can’t be everything. I have limitations, whether I like it or not.

I suffer from a medical condition that keeps me from doing a lot of things. I know for sure that I have limitations: flippin’ doctors have told me so. Specialised medical practitioners have prescribed me a large dose of “take it easy”. Easier said than done. But I’m getting better.

Even though I still have this hysterical internal drive to DO, DO, DO all the time – to jump on every single opportunity – I am starting to get the lesson. I will do everything I can do. (I don’t know why I ignored that important little word for so long.) I am learning to step back.

So, I spent New Year’s Eve at home, by myself, trying out a new recipe for dinner. I went to bed before midnight. I AM GRANDMA.

And I regrette rien.

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