Sending my Regrets

I was reading the story of another injury survivor who is a motivational speaker who lost a limb and I was shocked to read they never think of what their life would’ve been like if they still had their limb. What an amazing concept! It’s so simple, life without regrets; you just keep moving forward and enjoying the experience of tackling new and challenging circumstances. Sounds like a way to simplify things. Call me skeptic, but I think even saying you never think about it means you’ve thought about it. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel regret when I pick the slow lane at the grocery store or forget to PVR a favorite television episode. I think about my injury often, but I’ve owned the situation and moved on. There was a grieving process that I needed to work through because ultimately you can’t keep re-living the same problems over and over. Just the same, it isn’t healthy to say this is the way it is, suck it up butter-cup and act like nothing happened.

You hear people say “You gotta live life with no regrets” … really? If you never regretted anything wouldn’t that open you up to making a whole pile of foolish decisions more than once? We aren’t machines, let’s face it, things impact us, sometimes more deeply than others. Is there something wrong with sharing or experiencing the impact of regret regarding a decision or action? I think we could sum the fear of regret as pain avoidance. Take heart, there are so many benefits to staring pain down and facing it head on rather than running from it. Sure it hurts for a while, but it’s kind of like cleaning up a wound.

This reminds me of an adventure when I was eight and we were ripping around the Lemberg Waterworks with our bicycles. It was a perfect little track; it had curves, it had hills and it was even at the intersection of two streets … non-stop adventure. The races were classic and open to the neighborhood kids; but there were standards to being part of the race club. You needed to have at least three hockey cards attached to the forks of your bike making noise as they rattled against the spokes (bikes without the authentic three card sound weren’t tolerated) and you needed to be able to pedal with reckless abandon! The stakes were high; we needed to establish who the fastest kid on the block was. Who had what it took to leave everyone else chewing on dust and gravel? I wanted to be the one raising my hands at the end of the race, just like Mario Andretti.

The bikes were all lined up as the 3 lap race began. The countdown started as the nervous tension pulsed through my veins. Was it my time to shine? Could I step above the crowd? The first lap was a crazy pace and I was only slightly back of my brother and Jason Smith, the reigning champion. As I came down the hill and cut into the second corner my back tire began to drift and suddenly I was out of control. My bike slid through the gravel pinning my arm underneath it as I ground to a stop. My skid was nasty with remnants of skin dispersed throughout the gravel proving my nettle. My whole forearm was scraped open and the pain was immediate. Although, I don’t remember crying I’m sure I shed a tear or two before I limped back home and waited for mom to tend to my wound.

Back in the late 70’s the ideal way to deal with a wound was a hearty application of Rubbing Alcohol. If you thought the original scrape was nasty just wait until you got all the grit cleaned out of it and doused it with rubbing alcohol. That brings a whole new meaning to sharp pain, but I was told “If it hurts, that’s how you know its working”. So the pain was welcomed as the cleaning continued for what seemed like hours. Eventually a mess of Ozonol was lathered on before huge amounts of gauze were applied and stuck together with white surgical tape that never seemed to stick. This time I got the royal treatment and mom fancied up the ends of the tape with a nice pinking shear edging.

Even at that age I knew a wound needs to be cleaned before it can heal. Emotional wounds are no different. If they are simply covered over they will sit a fester until there’s a much larger problem to tend to. If you’re hurting, I would urge you to address the wounds, even though it’s painful. Keep in mind “If it hurts, that’s how you know its working”. Open up, talk to someone and let the healing begin.

This blog inspired a whole new presentation for me entitled “Unleashing the Power of Regret” … stay tuned for more information.

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