Monday, January 4, 2010

Tempting Trash

Regrets are just leftovers. Eat them up or throw them out.

DB - The Vagabond
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One cannot live a life, particularly a vital, active life without collecting a truckload of regrets. If I tallied up all the time I've spent regretting things I did or things I didn't do it would probably amount to about 15 years of my life. What a waste of time!

Sometimes my mind acts like a mule hitched up to my wagon. If I sit back and let my mind wander sooner or later it will lead me into a swamp of negativity. I will start to think about things I don't want to think about. I call it The Law of Diminishing Enthusiasm. If you don't tend your garden it will start producing weeds which will choke the flowers. If one doesn't discipline one's mind it will eventually find the dark places of the past, and they will drive out the good thoughts one should be thinking.

I think of it as being in a row boat on a river. To go upstream you have to row. If you want to be self destructive you can row downstream. But if you sit in the boat and do nothing you'll go downstream anyway.

I try to discipline myself to not think about the past. Even though I have a lot of wonderful memories of an active and interesting career, some of those memories are too close to others that I would avoid. So, even though I may be remembering something that was fun I will stop myself and say "Why are you thinking abut that?"
Today, tomorrow and what is next is what I want to think about.

Sometimes regrets pop into a mind that is not wandering. That's because we aren't sure we have sufficiently learned the lesson we need to know in order to prevent the mistake from happening again. That's the moment to be articulate, to identify clearly what happened and why it happened under the circumstances. In my case it was usually a matter of not being alert to what was going on around me and so I said an ignorant thing or did an ignorant thing, or else, I was being selfish.

Most lessons have to be repeated in order to be properly learned. It takes time, like learning to drive or cook or increase one's vocabulary. But that doesn't mean the dumb thing you did that brought on the regret needs to be repeated. Eventually, as the new self knowledge becomes certain, the regret will abate and become a source of humor or else it will be forgotten. It disappears from the plate. It's been eaten up.

A regret is not a thing. It's a reaction to a thing. Stop doing the thing.

DB - The Vagabond
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WINTER QUESTION
(This is not a contest.)

Given the resources and opportunity, what one thing do you want to do in 2010 that you've never done before.

You have all Winter to answer. Answers will be posted on the first day of Spring.
9 responses so far.

DB - The Vagabond

4 comments:

Big Mark 243 said...

I try to discipline myself to not think about the past. Even though I have a lot of wonderful memories of an active and interesting career, some of those memories are too close to others that I would avoid. So, even though I may be remembering something that was fun I will stop myself and say "Why are you thinking abut that?"
Today, tomorrow and what is next is what I want to think about.


Today and tomorrow... That is about all I have to say about it. I am trying my hardest to 'get away from it' myself. Good to see your spirit is lifting.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

There is a big difference between reminiscing and regret. The former is good, and can warm you inside and make you smile. The later is negative and I agree, should be avoided.

Beth said...

Yes...I think we all have regrets, but it is best to not let them consume us, or to dwell on them. I think it paralyzes you, shuts down all forward progress by keeping you mired in the past.

Rose~* said...

I love your quote about regrets, DB - my hubby dwells on the past way too much. I live for today and always look forward to tomorrow. ((HUGS))