I’ve had a lot of obstacles in my four years, but none of them have been as prevalent as the feeling of regret. Like you, I often find myself daydreaming about my past, creating scenarios in my head of what I should have done differently and how much better my life would be now if I had done just that. To me, those are some of the most dangerous thoughts we can have as humans because it creates a false perception of our real lives and causes us to think negatively about ourselves. In nearly all my attempts to suppress that feeling, I feel more lost than where I originally started.
As creatures of intelligent nature, we are all exposed to something called “the human condition.” In short, the human condition is the ability to understand what we cannot control, but hope to simply acknowledge, all we endeavor in our mortal lives; it is realization of the highs and lows, the failures and triumphs, the fears and conformities. To understand all that we experience is something humans cannot fully comprehend. However, the ability to recognize those experiences and learn from them is a concept we can wrap our minds around. Regret is a prime example of this idea; while regret is persistent and demanding, it is a concept we can understand and learn from to eventually better ourselves.
A quote I think about often is, ‘There is no such thing as shoulda, coulda, or woulda. If you shoulda and coulda, you woulda done it.’ The truth is simple: nothing you do can change the past. The only way we can move forward is by living in the present. If you begin to think about what you should have done, could have done, or would have done differently, you’ve already let your mind beat you.
COVID-19 is something that is affecting most of us mentally more than it is physically. In the upcoming years, it will haunt us with thoughts of what could have, should have, and would have happened if “some guy didn’t eat a bat.” In a time where it is second nature to daydream about what should have happened, it is important to realize we can’t change our reality. All we can do now is sit back, understand we cannot change the past, and keep our minds clear of regret in order to move forward with our lives. Let’s keep our minds thinking of what’s to come instead of what already happened.