If we, as humans, are told that regrets and mistakes are both a major (and unavoidable) part of life, why is it that we try to hard to avoid the unavoidable? This is the question that has been on my mind a lot recently. As someone who is actively trying to make right choices for myself and good decisions as a young women in her very early twenties, I can’t help but wonder why I’m giving it so much thought when regrets are pretty much inevitable during an entire lifetime of living.
I’m thinking about all the mistakes I’ve made thus far in my life. They were not great, and some of them I can confidently say are regrets, but one major aspect of this thinking which can’t be disregarded is what that experience taught me and what I learnt from it, if anything. It’s common knowledge that we all make mistakes and that this is simply a part of life, and it’s also widely believed that we need to make mistakes in order to learn from them. So if we understand this and believe it to be true, then why we still trying to avoid making mistakes at all? If mistakes are supposed to be seen in a positive light and as a learning opportunity, why do they still feel like a negative part of life? In a way, I feel as though we are constantly told from a young age how important it is to make good decisions; to avoid making the bad ones. It’s almost as though they are trying to scare us into it so that we can live a life never once coming across a regret or mistake. Who can live like this, though?
Here is a personal example. There is something which I’ve been contemplating for quite some time now. What exactly it is, however, I will keep to myself as it’s rather private. Anyway, for such a stubborn person I’ve been really quite indecisive when it comes to one particular decision I have to make for myself. You could even say that for a long time I’ve been putting off making this decision out of pure fear of it becoming a regret or mistake in the future. If you can relate to this with your own decision making, then you might understand how easy it can be to put an unnecessary amount of pressure on ourselves as we give every decision we make in life a lot of weight.
Now I understand that none of us, including myself, have a crystal ball in which we can see if this will in fact become one or not, but this thought or fear has still been lurking in the back of my mind, deterring me from making the decision at all. Surely it can’t be a good thing when such a fear gets in the way of decision making, right? At the risk of sounding dramatic, it can’t be a good thing when it stops us from living our life, essentially.
I had to ask myself why I was thinking about it so much. If we can’t predict the future and foresee regrets in order to avoid them, what does it matter? Why think about the decision at all? Why not just have a game of ‘eeny meeny miny moe’ and select it at random? Why am I so programmed to think hard before making big decisions in hope of saving myself future regret? Why am I avoiding making the decision out of fear of it being the ‘wrong’ one? Why do I care so much?! The amount of questioning is a bit ridiculous, I know, but this has quite literally been the thought process swirling around in my head for months on end. And again, another question, but I have to wonder: how much thought must we give a decision before we make it? How much questioning is appropriate and how much is too much?
The thing is, I was always told it’s good to question. It’s good to be curious. But no one ever said we were going to be given the answers to those questions, did they? Are they going to be written in the stars or be given to us on a silver platter? Absolutely not. We can question all we like in life but we may never know the answer. We may never be able to give ourselves the answers that we need, no matter how much we want to know. I think that there are many things that even the universe doesn’t have the answer for. And so, I’ve decided to stop questioning and pondering this particular decision. I’ve come to the realisation that I’ve done enough of this, and all it’s done is sent me round and round in an endless loop of questions that I don’t have the answers to.
Maybe it’s not about hoping that if we question it enough, the answer will come to us. Maybe it’s about learning when enough is enough, and going out there and actually finding the answer. You know, being proactive about it and all that. Make a decision, hope for the best, and then see. And do you know why we finally get an answer this way? It’s because we made a decision, despite all the uncertainty and doubt, and we found a way to give ourselves the answer that we’ve been looking for. In a way, life is all about doing things for ourselves and it’s up to us to find ways to get the answers that we need. We need to make decisions so that we can live our life and be free, not hold ourselves back out of fear. If there’s one thing I believe to be true, it’s that questions can be endless.
Lucy Rebecca x