Living from Regrets

Ever since the kids began to be involved with other groups of youth for activities, it has been easier to align our calendar with the public school calendar. Sometimes it is fun to be on vacation when public school is in session, but it usually still means that we are trucking the kids around, so it is a ‘sort of break’ at best. So for the most part, we just shut down when public schools shut down.

Two weeks ago, it was Greenville County Schools spring vacation. It was also ours. The boys went on a massive road trip. The girls unplugged and and played and rested. When it was time for that week to come to a close we decided that the one week hadn’t been enough. So we opted, as a family, to take a second week of vacation.

The girls and I had taken a lunch date many weeks before and brainstormed all that we hoped to do during our vacation. We didn’t complete nearly all that we had put on our list. It’s amazing how optimistic list-making can feel. So as we headed into our second week, I encouraged the girls and myself to revisit the list. “Let’s look at what we regret, and make choices for this next week based on that.”

Individually, we did that. We carried our regrets, and decided which would be compass points for our ‘bonus’ week. For me, that included some much needed desk time, some reading time, some internal evaluation and planning. For the girls it was some studying, some playing, some kitchen projects.

I am really growing to a place where I appreciate the feedback that disappointments and regrets can give. The message we often hear is to live looking forward, and to not allow the negative feelings to come along of the ride. But just because they aren’t happy feelings doesn’t mean they are negative. Some of the things on our lists were silly, frivolous, unnecessary. Some of our things were important, and we were going to be in a better place to do them because of the rest we had experienced in week one. Because we took the time to revisit each thing, we could make that value decision.

Previously, I would have just had a dull awareness that I hadn’t completed the list. It would have been a regret filled with dread, and the self-message ‘you stink at follow-through’. But we took ownership of the dread and met it with Grace. We were in charge of the list.

We hear about goal-setting and knowing that planes have to make a million mid-course corrections as they speed to their next port. But I think I’m living more of a row-boat paced life these days… pulling the oars, looking at where I have been, and looking over my shoulder every once in awhile to set my sights on where I am headed. I might not be getting to my next port as quickly as a plane (and my hands might really hurt from the blisters some days), but I think I might be onto something sacred as I honor the behind as I make my forward movement.

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