This is Life, Based on a True Story  

Regrets, we've had a few

Regret. We all have it, but why?

A friend is going through a great deal of regret right now. It was during our conversation it became apparent how much regret can drive our existence.

You might say, “What’s the point of regret? You can’t change the past.”

You’re right, except that regret also gives us a chance to review where we went wrong.

There’s that life lesson I’m always talking about.

My friend is separated from her husband. The split was so bad, she’s not actually sure if her ex-husband filed for divorce, or not, because there’s virtually no communication between them.

In short, she’s regretting that she separated from her husband. Since then, she’s experienced the loss of relationships with her kids; although they are working on rebuilding it.

Now, for the record, this is not an opening for anyone to criticize or judge her for past decisions.

Trust me, she’s hard enough on herself and has taken full accountability for her part in her marital breakdown.

But as with anything, there are two sides to every story and hers was far from idyllic.

She’s lost many material possessions—everything from dishes to vehicles—not to mention her home.

She’s loved and lost in other relationships since her marriage ended, and is still trying to figure out how to navigate the whole dating after divorce thing (let it be known, there’s no rule book; you just sorta wing it and hope for the best).

Her business is struggling and if you ask me, is completely mirroring her life. Everything about her is struggling. Hence the regret she’s now feeling.

Despite the fact her marriage was damaged beyond repair, she regrets leaving it because of her situation. She would rather be in an equally bad, if not worse, situation, but at least she’d be in it with someone else (her ex).

This confounds me, to be honest.

Don’t get me wrong, I have regrets. But I’ve had to learn regret gets me nowhere but up “Resentment Creek” (which is not far from the other creek we’re all familiar with).

Another member of my inner circle says regret should be used as a learning tool. I like this spin on it.

Her theory is that regretting something you did (or didn’t do) won’t change the fact that you did or didn’t do it.

For that reason, she chooses to take something that others may consider a regret and turn it into an “oops – won’t be doing that again” moment, and then just move on.

In her words, “There’s no point on dwelling in the past or the future for that matter. It’s all about now - the present.”

Now, with that said, it’s hard to train yourself to not regret and just take it as a lesson. My own regrets, er, lessons, have definitely shaped me into who I am right now.

There are the “fluffy” lessons like, “Don’t wear anything trendy for school pictures,” for one day, you’ll blame your mom for letting you walk out of the house looking like that.

Then there’s the more serious regrets turned lessons for me – like making sure what I took in college is actually something I could see myself doing for the next 40 years (it wasn’t and I’m not).

But those lessons have given me the foresight to encourage my own kids, nieces and any other person who wants to listen to my blabber, to learn from my errors of the past.

And maybe that’s what it’s all about, turning your regrets into lessons for yourself—and into knowledge and guidance for others. Such is life.

As for my friend, she is growing and learning.

It’s not something she wants to go through, and it’s certainly not the path she envisioned for herself. But it’s her current lot in life and regrets or not, it’s hers to make the best of.

What’s done can’t be undone, and what’s to come can’t be predicted. But this too shall pass and she’ll one day look back on this time and be thankful for the lesson.

Even if right at this moment, it’s a regret.


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About the Author

Tanya Gunderson has been writing for the heck of it for many years. Her inspiration comes from her kids, their friends and the craziness of life. She takes great pleasure in exposing life for what it really is and has an open-book approach to her writing.

Her formal education and background include a blink-and-you miss-it stint in the radio and television industry, but it gave her an opportunity to write professionally on a few different occasions.

Email: [email protected]



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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