But what's regret anyway? Regret, I am learning these days, is a lot of things. But mostly, it's a slippery seed of longing, of looking back and asking yourself why you didn't know better when the answers were so obvious all along.
That you can look back fondly or even wistfully on pieces of your life and hound yourself with endless what-ifs, but nothing will change. The present will still be the present. The future will still unfold as it's meant to.
We all have those moments where we realize how easily our lives could be so different, for better or for worse. I met my husband at a gym in NYC! What if I'd joined a different gym? What if I hadn't worked out in the afternoons? These questions are endless.
There is a moment in every relationship when one of the parties senses its imminent demise. There's a moment of incredible clarity when your stomach drops with a heavy sense of dread, and you feel like control is slipping through your fingertips even as you try to hold on.
You have to know... What you have to know in all of this, through all of this, is that no matter how lost you are in this maze of hell and confusion, that in the end, I promise you, you will be found.
I press my eyes shut and will the thoughts away. But they refuse to comply, and instead, they lodge themselves in the crevasses of my brain, poking out just enough that I know they're still with me, like a tiny splinter in your baby toe that gnaws away at you with every step you take.
If we always take the path of least resistance, if we embrace inertia, if we never leap, if we never accept accountability for our choices, how can we find any triumph in our victories or any remorse in our losses?
There is the before. And then there is the after. Happiness is what you choose, what you follow, not what follows you. These are the things I have seen, these are the things I now know, these are the things I will carry with me as I go.