I was browsing an internet forum after a long day of studying last week, looking for a little relief.
An exciting post caught my attention: “What is your most significant regret?”
I immediately dove into deep thought.
At first, it seemed that I didn’t have a single regret. My life was smooth, taken deliberate step by deliberate step.
But when I began to look at myself from the inside out, I saw something different, something far from the ideal life I thought I’d led. Some of my memories were paralyzing.
Every so often, we wish we could return to a particular moment when we remember remorse or regret.
When you’re disappointed by that “C” on your exam, you wish you could turn back the clock a few days and study harder. When a procrastinating college student finds out he still has a project to finish an hour before the deadline, he wishes he could go back in time five hours. Criminals repent for their crimes before they are sent to prison.
Everybody thinks, What if I was a better me?
But the truth is that time can never go back, it keeps moving forward.
If the present determines the future, then the past determines the present.
Suppose you could go back to a specific moment in the past. Would you really make a different choice in that situation, even if you knew the consequences?
Romantic poets will render their endless regret onto the page, making it seem so dramatically tragic. But real life is not so poetic.
The essence of guilt is dissatisfaction. We are not satisfied with the results of the actions and decisions we made before, and we recognize that’s why we’re not happy.
But our biggest regret can still be a meaningful question.
Life has its twists and turns, its peaks and valleys. Reflecting on the wrong choices we’ve made may help us make better decisions in the future. Overcoming regret should be a compulsory course.
If you’re stuck with negative thoughts and feelings, imagine how you’ll be in 10 days, 10 months, even 10 years. No matter what, stretching the timeline and remembering how much time you have left will help relieve anxiety.
No one can promise that everything in life will go smoothly. We can’t be satisfied with every decision we’ve made before. Everyone is walking the road of life for the first time; that’s why everybody makes mistakes.
The past can’t be changed, but we all still have plenty of opportunities, and we have the power to take them.
Don’t lose the sun because of a missed star.
Yakun Liu is an assistant multimedia editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yakun Liu is an assistant multimedia editor at The Spectrum.