“Regret is unprofessional.” M, Book of Bond, Chapter: Quantum of Solace
The subtitle of my blog (included due to a prompt from WordPress) is a quote from Soren Kierkegaard, a Christian Existentialist. Kierkegaard, of course, fascinates me because he was derided so thoroughly by the Fundies I knew. Aside from his belief in a higher being, I have found the few things I’ve read from him since leaving religion to be quite profound, but none more than his advice to those struggling to decide what to do.
It seems a foolish thing to our Christian positivity culture here in America. We are told “Just do it,” and then led to believe that doing “it” is what will bring us what we want. But that belief is actually the foolish thing and if we paused to think of all the times we’ve done something and regretted it, we would see it for the stupidity it is.
The quote resonates with me because this is my daily struggle. If I need to do something and I don’t, I regret it, but if I do it, I more than likely regret it If I don’t regret it and it gives me a brief lift in my feelings, that is immediately taken away by some larger problem that is insurmountable.
Example: The other day, I received notification from the charter school I needed to get my daughter into that she was accepted. I had accomplished something, finally. Within just a few hours my oldest son came to me to tell me he’d lost our turtle, sending son #3 into a sensible fit of depression. I had to maneuver that along with the needs of my other children who do not take their responsibilities toward humans and animals as seriously as son #3.
There is no reward for doing “it.” We may make the decision to do “it” and find that it was the wrong decision. There are a million different things going on when a person is struggling with this sort of thing.
Deciding to write publicly is something I regret. But not writing something publicly is something I also regret. There is a risk and if we are honest we will admit that it’s certainly not always worth it.
Our society is one of false promises. I’m getting to the point after years in religion and later in “positivity,” and just watching politics, that human beings like being lied to. We prefer the beauty of a lie, than the pain of the truth.
But for those of us who have either acknowledged reality, or are subconsciously aware of it, these decisions become almost painful. The work lies in realizing we will regret both doing “it” or not, and choosing which regret we will least regret.