"... but then again," the song continues, "too few to mention." I would hope that most of us could look back on to just a few, but mostly I hope that none of those regrets caused us to crash and burn, to stop moving forward with living our lives.
I regret friendships lost or lapsed. When making peace with myself, I return to the whole reason, season, lifetime saying and give some thought to whether those friends were a reason, a season or a lifetime friend to me and whether I was to them.
In examining the nature of friendship, I noticed that many people I knew had long-term friends: people they had grown-up with, known since they'd been to school together, had known since University - those with potential to be lifetime friends. But I didn't. I could blame the constant changes in my childhood - I'd been brought up overseas, re-locating every 2-3 years with my parents and siblings - but I had also attended a boarding school from the age of 12. So, why did I not have more than acquaintances from that time? Why did I not have friends who weren't transient? Why were all my friends seasonal?
Despite using logic to discard the transient nature of my upbringing as having caused this, I held on to the belief that putting down roots would naturally lead to forming friendships that fell into the reason category and - most importantly - with the potential for lifetime friendship. The reason category rapidly filled up - I shared friendships with those I met at the school gate, when our children travelled abroad together on their gap years, who attended the same sport club as I did. But I discovered that the lifetime thing didn't just "happen naturally" as I'd assumed it would. I discovered it was necessary not to just sit back and wait for people to come to you, you have to get up and make the effort yourself (duh!) You have to ring, to invite, to risk knock-back, to keep in touch, to listen, to share, to be reliably there when the tough stuff lands. Friendships - especially of the lifetime sort - they don't just happen, they take effort and nurturing and love. I'm glad that was a lesson I learned before it was too late.
The other regret I have was only identified quite recently. I wish I had discovered my fascination, my passionate interest and natural ability for psychology earlier than my sixth decade. The fact that I had a good brain came as somewhat of a surprise to me. The fact that I had the ability for cognitive thought and academic work was a huge surprise to me. As far as is possible, I take opportunities to keep that grey matter working, but I've had to accept that the opportunity to become a psychologist has passed. I might have the time left to qualify, but I definately don't have the time left to practice. I was surprised how much that discovery hurt. I felt an almost physical sense of the loss. in going through the grieving process, I was fortunate to have the assistance and support of a warm, wonderfully empathic Gestaltist. With his help, the grief hasn't prevented me from living life. Instead it has ensured that I do face the fear, for if I fail, at least there is no regret for what might have been.
Are there regrets you now feel? Or risks you won't take for fear of failure?