This is another posting that are comes from the site Formspring. Again, these will be marked with a FQ at the beginning of the post title and the post will be appropriately tagged. (Eventually, I’ll stop adding this upper bit)

Is there anything you wish you could do over and do differently, and if so, what? Is it possible to live a life without regrets, or are just the words of the young and arrogant?

Nothing beats a light-hearted and easy question. Once again I have to give two answers to the first part. The quick answer, which is not the accurate one, is “Of course, there’s tonnes I’d love to go change.” (Correct answer is forthcoming)

I’m one of those people who’d love to go back in time and whisper in my younger self’s ear a few choice phrases at the right time. I’d love to lose a few savings accounts and find a couple of lost treasures. My grandmother’s kitchen table had SCORES of photos from my youth from the time I was born until about the age of 10. I would KILL to see those photos again. As it is, I now have ONE photo from my childhood that is not a school picture. And even those are only recent additions.

There are {en:Significant_other|SOs} that I’d love to stop my self from dating and mistakes I made in the carelessness of youth. There’s one very special person to me that I lost due to a combination of bad timing, bad decisions, and worst of all: being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Do I wish I could do over and do differently. … The correct answer is “No.” Does the idea entertain me to no end? Oh, absolutely. And I can sum up the accurate reason for never wishing this in one word. “Aiden.” I wouldn’t have my son in my life right now if anything in my life had been different. Even though the film is utterly traumatic, I recommend “The Butterfly Effect.” Actually, I don’t. I think I’d like to go back and prevent myself from having seen it. Read {en:Ray_Bradbury|Bradbury}’s “{en:A_Sound_of_Thunder|A Sound of Thunder}” from his collection “{en:R_is_for_Rocket|R is for Rocket}” ({en:Serenity_(film)|Yes, I’ve read a book. Try not to faint.})

And anyway I did role-playing games as a kid. I know what a Dungeon Master thinks when you make a wish. This never works out well. This is a true moment to enjoy what you have and not try to “what if” yourself into “what could have been” from the myriad of infinity. Granted… Having a child you love will do that to you.

But wait… there is more. Is it possible to live a life without regrets, or are these (ed. mine) just the words of the young and the arrogant?

I must greatly fight the urge to type, “Yes” and then end the post. But would I regret such a move? Personally, I think regret is a natural process of maturation. Just because you’ve done something that in your heart was the best decision, it doesn’t mean it’s not going to hurt, cause annoyance, sadness, … what have you.

I am estranged from the immediate blood family that raised me. This was neither an easy decision nor a quick one. It took a lot of soul searching, a lot of learning who I am, and what I need to be a healthy and functional individual. Most of this happened as the result of the loss of my father. Some could reason that his condition was aided by me telling him to go to a shelter. There have been so many things that I have done, that even after years of doubt and pain, in my mind, I know they were the right things. Doesn’t make it any easier. Not having a father today to ask what I was like as a boy as I try to raise my own… Oh, yeah… There’s sadness and sometimes there is even depression.

Look at the definition… It’s {en:Regret_(emotion)|regret}. I think it’s actually an incorrect definition of ‘regret’ that causes the young and arrogant to say that they shall live without regret. The problem is that most people think, “If I have regret; then I admit that what I did was wrong.” There are many actions I wish I had not done. Some seemed like the right decision at the time. Some still seem like the right decision. Some absolutely were the right decision and I still wish I hadn’t done them.

Do I feel that I had consciously violated ethics or morality in my life? No. Do I feel that I have actively been dishonourable at points in my life? I do not know. I think honour is one of those things that is like Karma. It can be spent and earned. Honour is not something we teach to the young. Matter of fact we completely cheapen the idea of Honour by tying it to excellence, which is at times very far from Honour. And as an A-Honour roll student in my youth… I know of what I speak.

Do I reflect on actions of my youth and question my ethics at time? Oh hells yes. I can clearly see one if not two people who I can say I acted beyond improperly with and would twelve-step myself oblivion to try to make amends for the behaviour of an under-21-year old. One person that I knew has said they don’t even want to hear my name again. So much for forgiveness. These are in addition to the person I lost.

I’ve made mistakes. Granted, I don’t think that I’ve actively ever set out to hurt anyone. I have called people out on breaking the rules and have been tenacious about it. I’ve had less than pure thoughts and thank the universe that I’m Jewish and don’t believe in Hell.

So, I have regrets. This doesn’t answer the question. The question was: Is it possible to live life without regret, or are these just words for the young and arrogant. The reduction is Yes. Yes on the first half, no on the second. I think inevitably people have to decide for themselves those wonderful old concepts of “Right and Wrong” and the relative responsibility for actions in relation to a persons place and emotional connection to it.

Huh? Well, lets be honest. A psychopath isn’t going to feel any regrets or any emotion about their behaviours and they come in all ages and arrogance isn’t always on the menu.

Scared yet :?)

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