Regret, and running in the rain

Whenever I come to make a pivotal decision, I remind myself of the same phrase.  “The hard thing is always the right thing.”  Very often, the correct choice is all too apparent: what’s often absent is the courage to make it.  That’s not to say that I continually pursue the appropriate course of action.  What it does mean, though, is that I should always be prepared for my progress to hurt a little.

I realise, just as I type this, that I could simply have expressed that last paragraph as “no pain, no gain”.  Ah well.  In any case, the exercise metaphor is a fitting one.  This morning, I was faced with the most pressing of questions; that is to say, whether I should go running through a cold, wet Leyton, or stay within the loving cocoon of my duvet.  As I peered out of the window, I knew what had to done: after all, the hard thing was always the right thing.  The last thing I wanted to do this Saturday was go out there into these miserable elements, and so it was the first thing that I should do.

I forced myself out there, and immediately felt the better for it; out the door, first left, and up the Lea Bridge Road.  Before I set off, I had been thinking about regret.  In fact, I think about regret a lot, and how I am not always honest when I answer questions about it.  It’s not that I mean to be deceitful, it’s just that I try to remain positive whenever I can about what’s in the past.  At 33, I’m not particularly old or particularly young, but like most of us I have already had to make a series of tough decisions to live the live that I want to.  And whenever I am asked “do you have any regrets?” I say “No: ultimately, I did what I had to do.”

That’s not true, though.  I do have regrets.  Plenty of them.  The ways that I acted, or reacted.  The places I lingered too long, or stayed too briefly.  All sorts of regrets.  I remember them all, of course I do; and, therefore, I harbour them. In doing so, I suppose I honour them. In many ways, they are the cost of my progress.

And that’s the funny thing.  People often ask me how, given that I do so many different things to earn my living, I manage to balance them all.  And the answer, which I’ve never really given until now, is that there is nothing more awful than to give up a passion.  There is nothing more devastating than to walk away from a dream.  Often it is the fear of further regret that forces me forward, just as I willed myself over those rain-greased pavements an hour or so ago.  Behind me I leave the anguish of countless sacrifices, of love, money and time; until there is so much wind and rain between me and my regrets, that I can scarcely hear their sighs anymore.

 

2 comments

  1. Genelle says:

    Nicely written blog…

  2. “There is nothing more awful than to give up a passion. There is nothing more devastating than to walk away from a dream.”

    This encapsulates everything that I have tried unsuccessfully to put into words for so very long about the catalyst for a young adult life saturated with manic depression.

    Maybe I didn’t know it then, maybe I knew it all along. That my parents divorced when I was 19 was always an easy excuse for everyone else to make on my behalf. Yet that doesn’t explain the self-hatred.

    What perhaps does, is that the residual debris of that divorce was my walking away from cricket – it was my passion, dream. And I did give up and walk away, and for years I could not live with it.

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