Living without Regret

In the last of the three conversations that I had recently with my friend Bruce (who passed late last week), we talked about the idea of “living without regret.” This conversation was a little different from the other two because this question/topic was on my mind and I wanted to get Bruce’s opinion of the question… “how did he think about the concept of “regret” and did he have any insights about living life as best we can without it?” No small question! After just a few moments he started talking about the concept of “regret”, and how he was thinking about it at that time, just a few weeks before he passed from us. He talked about that “regret” was a trap, and could be dangerous, because while we have an infinite ability to affect tomorrow, we have an equally significant inability to affect yesterday. That “regret” can make you inactive, pondering the “should have’s/could have’s/would have’s” of life rather than trying to make tomorrow better than yesterday. He talked about how he felt little regret as he looked over his life and that if he had any, it would be in those relationships in his life that he never told people who were important to him just how important they were. He asked me whether there were people in my life who I cared about that might not know it. He paused, gave me a penetrating stare, and said “do something about that…. today!”

As I reflect about this conversation, I keep thinking about what he wasn’t talking about. He didn’t regret not taking a certain trip, or buying some specific car, or achieving some title at work. He focused on relationships, between the people that matter in our lives. Not only does this ring true deeply in my heart, I was reminded about a conversation that I had with my grandmother almost 11 years ago. I wrote about it in the first post on this blog titled “Legacy”, but as she reached her life’s end, she didn’t want to talk about the “stuff and things” of life, just the relationships. True for MaMa, true for Bruce!

I hope that over the past few weeks and months,through a few entries in this blog, that you have gotten a little glimpse into my friend Bruce. I have learned a lot from him over the years and I am certain that I will continue to learn a lot from him, his life, and his lessons, in the years ahead. I hope you have, and you will, too!