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  • Everything happens for a reason, right? I like to tell myself that. It's reassuring. It's easy to brush off the little things with this logic. For example: tripping in public, bombing a test, running late to work, and all the things that can combine to create a less than pleasant day.But what about the big things? The loss of a relative. Not getting accepted into graduate school. A breakup. Losing a friend. Falling in love with the wrong person.
    Sometimes it's difficult for us to see the forest for the trees. For us to understand that all the bad things in life occur so that we will be put in the path of better things.
    With that in mind, let's talk about regret.
    Regret is something of a double-edged sword. It is both haunting and educational. A necessary evil.
    I live in a state of almost chronic conflict to which I think a lot of people can relate: the fear of doing something wrong, forever at odds with the fear of not living life to the fullest.
    I have learned the hard way that one cannot tiptoe through life, trying step on as few toes as possible, offering no original opinions and apologizing for minor offenses. That's no way to live. On the flip side, galloping through, taking what you want from who you want, jumping off of bridges because it feels right at the time, well that'll ensure your life is full of excitement, but not quality.
    What I'm getting at is, no matter how you go about living your life, you're bound to end up with regret. Things you wish you had done differently.
    I have.
    I sometimes like to say to myself, "no regret," as if that will make whatever I'm about to do, or whatever I have done, acceptable.
    No regret.
    Impossible.
    To live is to invite regret into our lives. Being human means we make mistakes. But we learn from those mistakes. We learn so much.
    To have no regret means to lack an education in life.

    A friend of mine recently asked me what my biggest regret is. At the time, I opted not to answer, not because I was embarrassed, but because, on the spot, I couldn't put into words the tangle of sadness, anger, heartache, and enlightenment I have gained from my "biggest regret." In case you were wondering, I'm not going to share it here either.
    To be honest, it's too precious to me to make public. It's like a healing battle wound.
    A few months ago I would have had a different answer, full of bitterness and angst, but today I'm starting to understand the life lesson that came from this mistake I made.
    I'm starting to see the forest.

    Everything does happen for a reason. Our past mistakes lead us down paths of self-discovery we would never venture down otherwise.
    So yeah, go ahead and live your life to the fullest. Learn from your mistakes. Carry your regrets without allowing them to overcome you, because they help shape you into who you are and who you will become. Regret does not define us, but it sheds light on parts of us that may be hidden.
    Don't regret your regret.

    No regret.
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