“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”
According to a recent poll conducted by a London-based charity consortium, around 40% of folks have some serious regrets about the way they lived their lives, everything from “not traveling enough” to “being a better parent”.
For the record, at the age of 51, here is precisely what I regret about my life:
I have no regrets. Not one.
Now, that is not to say that, on occasion, I wish I hadn’t made the choices that I made for the reasons that I made them at the time. Quite frankly, I have done some pretty screwed-up things for some pretty screwed-up reasons. In fact, I have been pretty screwed-up for most of my adult life. I have been a lousy friend, a thoughtless husband, a crappy parent, a childish son, a careless brother, a boorish drunk, an asshole to my peers, a hypocrite to my faith and my God, and a thoroughly selfish and self-absorbed human being to everyone else.
Like everyone, I will daydream about time machines and do-overs, but mostly out of guilt or shame…but never regret.
Regret is a loose thread hanging off the fabric of your life, and the more you tug at it, the more you will begin to second-guess every choice you have ever made until your life unravels in your mind like a knot of tangled wool.
Yes, we are our choices, and our choices cannot be undone. The trick is not to regret those choices, but to learn from them.
In this, counting your blessings is a much healthier way to go.
Right now, at the exact moment that I am writing these words to you, I am sitting at my dining room table. I have a roof over my head, food in the pantry, and a large backyard for my dog to run in. My mom and my stepdaughter are healthy and well in the living room. My wife just got home from work. She is an amazing person. She is my very best friend and my partner in life, and she loves me with all her heart. And I love her. I am lucky she came along.
My daughter is happy and healthy and well and going to college in the fall. She has a loving mom, a devoted stepdad, lots of good friends, and a pretty cool life in Colorado.
Of myself, I can tell you that thanks to a buttload of luck and my life in Radio and Writing, I have traveled to places I thought I’d never see, worked in places I thought I’d never work in, and made good, old friends along the way, some of whom were my heroes when I was a kid. I mean, wow. I hung out with Kinky and Willie on the Honeysuckle Rose.
Currently, I work for the best people in the world at KTSA. Not to mention my on-air partner is a two-time Hall Of Famer. Not bad for an old radio dog from WCEI in Easton, Maryland.
Of course, I have never been to Vegas or India. I have never seen a blue whale. I have never–and probably will never will–drive through Paris in a convertible in the summertime.
Still, I am blessed. More blessed than I ever thought I would be.
As far as regrets, consider this, for it is no less true of your life than it is of mine:
Everything in my history, up to this point, had to happen exactly as it did in order for my life to be what it is today. Every bad choice, every wrong turn. Had one thing been different…maybe I would have never met my wife, maybe missing her by seconds or by years. Maybe my daughter would have never been born. Maybe I would have never found my home in San Antonio, Texas. Maybe I wouldn’t even be sitting here writing this or anything else. Maybe I’d be a tombstone.
The truth of it is that all those things we regret actually end up being the very things that bring us the wisdom and the clarity to recognize our blessings when they randomly (or not so randomly) show up on the scene…instead of letting them roll by, unnoticed, like a meme on your Facebook newsfeed.
And so, in this way, I regret nothing.
Except maybe that thing I did in the jacuzzi that one night at that party in the 80’s. No, wait. That turned out cool. I think. Never mind.
Jesus loves you and so do I,