What If?

“No regrets they don’t work. No regrets they only hurt.” ~ Robbie Williams

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Regret (vb): to feel sorry or upset about, a feeling of repentance, guilt, or sorrow

 

(image from http://xkcd.com/)

 

I don’t like regrets. That’s not to say I don’t have situations I wish had been different, or that my actions had been different. I just dislike the label ‘regrets’. I don’t think anyone gets through their life without wishing some things had turned out differently or they had chosen a different or perceived better path.

However, the ‘what if’ route is all too easy to get stuck down. What if I’d chosen that job? What if I’d studied that subject at university? What if I’d stayed home that night? They mount up and up and up. We can wish our lives away wanting things to be different. However, and this is the important bit, we can’t change any of it. What has happened has happened. It cannot be changed. (Up until the time Dr Who and his TARDIS turn up, anyway.)

What ifs are also incredibly seductive. They help us while away an hour or two, they’re a form of escapism from whatever situation we are in, especially when it is one we don’t like and want to change. I’m all in favour of a good daydream, I do it all the time. I just think it is very important not to get sucked into trying to rewrite the past or act as though it didn’t happen.

There’s a book that addresses this ever so well. I don’t own it so this is not an exact quote but a man and a woman are discussing the ‘what if we’d got together scenario’. He is being especially wistful then she says “but what about the fire?” This naturally confuses him and then she explains “the fire that spread through our house and killed us both just after we were married.”

See! That’s a proper answer to a what if! We don’t know what would have happened if we’d acted differently. We could have taken that job, the firm could have gone under & we could have been penniless. The university subject could have proved dull as dishwater. A car could have crashed into your house if you’d stayed in and crushed you on your sofa.

The important thing is, even if you don’t like all that has gone before, it has made you who are now. It has got to you to this point in time. The future is yours to do with as you wish, don’t waste it on wishing your past away.

 

Princess

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6 thoughts on “What If?

  1. Strangely ~ or not ~ I tweeted last night that I’m writing a post on this very subject!
    I love your blog and thank you for another wonderful piece of writing.
    Very thought provoking too. Lx

  2. ‘Do you ever wonder what life would have been like if you’d said yes?’ said Ridcully.
    ‘No’
    ‘I suppose we’d have settled down, had children, that sort of thing…’
    Granny shrugged. It was the sort of thing romantic idiots said. But there was something in the air tonight…
    ‘What about the fire?’ she said.
    ‘What fire?’
    ‘Swept through our house just after we were married. Killed us both.’
    ‘What fire? I don’t know anything about any fire?’
    Granny turned around.
    ‘Of course not! It didn’t happen. But the point is it might have happened. You can’t say “if this didn’t happen then that would have happened” because you don’t know everything that might have happened. You might think something’d be good, but for all you know it could have turned out horrible. You can’t say “If only I’d…” because you could be wishing for anything. The point is you’ll never know. You’ve gone past. So there’s no use thinking about it. So I don’t’
    ~Terry Pratchett _Lords & Ladies_

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