Over the past few years, I have encountered a lot of regrets in my life. At times these regrets kept me up all night thinking: what would have happened if I had done these things differently? I still replay those situations in my head and try to change the decisions I made so that I can invent my own outcomes. Sadly, these are things I can never change. We all have our mistakes and here are mine:
1. I would have said sorry.
I have hurt several people, some whom I have not seen in years. I can still do something about this. I just hope I won’t be too late.
2. I would not have been lazy.
My laziness took a toll on me when my grades dropped to an all-time low. I do not want to experience the stress I underwent. If only I had studied hard enough, things would have been easier for me.
3. I would have taken a gap year.
In the Philippines, the most important thing for youth is our studies. Graduating on time is a must. I wanted to take a year off and travel, meet new people, and learn the lessons that schools can’t teach. But I was too afraid to deviate from the status quo.
4. I would not have been scared of taking risks.
I was scared of a lot of things. I was scared of big risks. I passed over opportunities that could have made a difference in my life because I was afraid to take the leap. I was scared of what other people would think and I was scared of failing. If I had taken those risks, what would have become of me? That is a question I will never have an answer to now.
5. I would have said the things I wanted to say.
I am a talkative person but surprisingly, I keep many things to myself. I wanted to tell people when they were doing something wrong. I wanted to give them advice, but I chose to be silent. These are things that could have made a difference.
6. I would not have let some people drift apart from me.
When you get to college, high school is history. Unfortunately, this also goes for the people who attended high school with you. You will only stay in touch with a couple of friends from high school. You will rarely see the others and sometimes, never.
These are the “what ifs,” the things I would and would not have done. We should remember that our decisions can cause a ripple effect and our decisions are what define us. Our decisions form us into the people that we are now. We should not linger on regret because at some point, that is what you wanted to do or that is how you wanted to act. No matter how much we regret something, we can never re-do it because it is already done. The world will not wait for us to move on. We have to keep on moving forward and seek out the ever-fleeting joy.
By Gimly Melendres, a regional intern at the WYA Asia Pacific office