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Regrets, I’ve Had a Few (Dozen)

I’ve always thought that most people fall into one of 2 categories: A) those who carefully think through everything they do in life, in advance (these people frequently pride themselves on their good ), B) those who occasionally (or more than occasionally) throw caution to the wind (these people frequently remind themselves that life is short and they’d rather regret the things they’ve done than the things they haven’t done).  Sure, there’s some crossover between group A and group B, and some people don’t really fit into either group. Generalizations never work perfectly, but they’re good for storytelling and the like.

There’s no doubt that I’m clearly in group B. As much as I overthink things, and I do overthink just about everything, I’m a caution to the wind kinda gal.

Especially when it comes to relationships. I’ve actually said, repeatedly, that I don’t want to look back on my life and wonder, ‘what if.’ I’d rather know. And I have the scars to show for it.

Which is why I was intrigued by this post in Jezebel (which picked up the story from Mindhacks) about a study that claims to show that Americans have more regrets about love than any other subject. I say ‘claims’ because it was a tiny sample size and an odd study. They then differentiated between regrets based on action and inaction. The former (regrets based on things you’ve done) seem to be more common and more intense. Whereas the latter (regrets based on inaction) seem to last longer.

So I guess I’m in the majority here, for once? There are lots of caution to the wind folks? Whoulda thunk it.

I guess I’m not really surprised. For all the shit I take for my poor judgment, most people would rather know. Is he the right guy for me? Should I give him one more chance? What if I’m more patient? What if he’s really changed? And the only way to really know is to TRY. To throw caution to the wind, stick your neck out and try.

Hmm, I’m thinking the metaphor police might come and take me away.

Anyway…what I find MOST interesting about this is that the people who choose not to act, the good judgment folks, they hold on to their regret the longest. Which is exactly what I’d like to avoid. In the end, though, maybe this is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t thing.

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12 to “Regrets, I’ve Had a Few (Dozen)”

  1. C says:

    Is it bizarre that I got goosebumps reading this? I’m so solidly in “group b” that even the notion that OTHER people are throwing caution to the wind puts a huge smile on my face. Even when I’m hurting, I do my damndest to, weird as it sounds, rejoice in that. Like you said, it means I did something new with someone new. We group B’ers may have more scars than Group A, but as I’ve always seen it, scars tell the best stories. :) Thanks for your thoughts and linking the study!
    C recently posted..Lesson- Heartache is Par for the CourseMy Profile

  2. Black Iris says:

    I’m not sure which group I fall into. My life has been fairly unplanned and yet I rarely throw caution to the wind.

    In any case, I think people who pride themselves on their good judgment when things turn out well are often fooling themselves.

    I don’t regret much, but the lasting regrets are usually about not spending more time with a person when they were alive.

  3. Jeffrey says:

    I am a crossover type. I have great instincts, a great sense of judgement, and I live in the wind. About certain facets of my life, those held the longest are the ones that I still understand the least. In a stiff wind, I’ve learned to lash things down or lose them. Sometimes those long held regrets (regrets in process are confusions, for those of you that need an A/B switch for your rationality every now and again) become our best friends, become our dietary choices, become the lens we see choices through. This is not always healthy, but it can provide us a sense of comedy, in dark times.
    Jeffrey recently posted..the first loss of loveMy Profile

  4. I regret that I didn’t put more effort or take a more serious interest in finding a quality life partner when I was younger and ‘hotter’ and when I had more lovely men to choose from. But no, I was picky and living life. Now, I’m older, single, alone and thinking, MAN, why didn’t I give THAT guy a chance? Meanwhile, he’s all happily married with kids and I’m…. still trying to figure it all out.
    Angelina JoLoveless recently posted..Who- Me Selfish And ShallowMy Profile

  5. IntrigueMe says:

    I’m definitely an over-thinking analytical one… but I’m trying to let out my inner “caution to the wind” girl.
    IntrigueMe recently posted..A Hot BathMy Profile

  6. Louise says:

    I throw caution to the wind (this weekend’s fun was an extreme example). I’d rather regret my actions than regret missing out on experiences. (within reason of course – I keep myself safe). I found this article interesting. But I wonder how many people are just so regulary focused on the things they don’t like about their life that it’s the first thing that comes to mind when asked. People like to complain and wih negativity comes regret.

  7. NikkiB says:

    Oh I can overthink with the best of them – but damned if I’ll have regret over inaction.

    Caution! To the wind with you!
    NikkiB recently posted..“The One”My Profile

  8. matchit says:

    I was speaking with one of my friends the other day and said that I have no regrets in life – he looked at me in shock and then um’d and arr’d about the things he would do differently. I guess of course things could go better and that if we knew what we knew now then we would be in a better place. But OMG we can not go back; only forwards.
    matchit recently posted..Dating Direct Free Trial VoucherMy Profile

  9. C. Fassett says:

    I’m a crossover type.

    Years ago, I heard Maya Angelou say this, “We do the best we can with what we know. And when we know better, we do better.” The truth of her words was like an arrow that shot right into my heart, and I felt something in me settle into acceptance. Now I consider regrets a waste of my time and energy, and me wallowing in them, which is something I used to do, is a form of self judgment. I don’t like punishing myself over the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s. It is what it is, and I did what I did. On hindsight would I have chosen differently? Maybe, and maybe not. If the answer is yes, then I let it teach me so next time I know better, and will do better, hopefully, with the acceptance that I’ll probably not get it perfect.
    C. Fassett recently posted..JealousyMy Profile

  10. VJ says:

    Bring up one of my fav. quotes from Andy Jackson. His only 2 regrets upon leaving the Presidency? Quoted as : “My only two regrets in life are that I did not hang [John C.] Calhoun and shoot [Henry] Clay.”

    But I’ve got very few regrets. Strangely enough decisions I made 15, 20, even longer ago seem only stronger today in hindsight. I guess I’m lucky that way too. Cheers, ‘VJ’

  11. Jolene says:

    I kinda think it is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t thing. BUT I think just going for it and getting hurt (potentially) is worth it. Cuz if not, the regret of the ‘what-if’ is tougher to swallow. IMHO.
    Jolene recently posted..Throwbacks- Same location- a year laterMy Profile

  12. Brooke says:

    Ah regrets. We have a few scars to show for it, wouldn’t have it any other way because at least we know, right?
    Brooke recently posted..The Bird DanceMy Profile