If you've never had a regret, then you've never been in love.
Love rarely goes perfectly. Most of us have a regret that calls back to us when we think about love, because love is usually an unscheduled demanding mess. It's two people meeting at just the right moment in their lives to open to the possibilities, and then willing to work together to make those possibilities into something akin to tangible. Love is shared highs and lows, because we have a tendency to take the sunshine for granted if we've never stood in the rain. Love is personal growth, cooperation and sacrifice in one constantly changing little corner of reality you're trying to make into a cozy home for your soul. But because it's not neat, not pre-cast, not set, and directions vary, things don't always come out just right. And it those mistakes we make, those moments where we feel our hearts hang in the balance, that we come to regret.
Far too often we are just living our lives and end up with love unexpectedly, stumbling across it like a root in the dark. Unsure in our actions because life comes with opinions but not instructions, and instead of working to an understanding of who we are and sometimes afraid of what we want, we do things with grand intentions that in time we come to regret. Our actions are the multitude. Maybe it's benign neglect. Maybe we overwork it. Or we expect magic because magic fills our dreams. And then when something goes awry, comes regret.
Awry? We've all said something we regretted, or perhaps worse, left something unsaid until too late. Made assumptions that we never took the time to correct. Set our expectations too high or too low. Or we regret giving up too soon. Or staying too long. Holding too tight or letting things get out of hand. Giving too much or not putting enough effort. Sometimes the moments we regret are seemingly insignificant, and sometimes that moment looms over us blocking out the world. And there we stand in our pathway of life, filled with regret.
But regret meant that the feelings that birthed them were real. That the love was real. We need our regret. It has the potential to teach us, if only because we don't want to return to feeling. This is why love has the capacity to make us better. And while we hope to be able use that regret to perhaps strengthen the love we have, mostly regret is a lesson we take with us going forward should we find love again.
As I'm not young anymore, I possess regrets. Words unspoken mostly. A few assumptions that may have limited what I thought was possible. Hopefully... I've learned.
So why am I bringing this up? Why is this worthy of the time for me to write it and you to read it? An essay on regret on Valentine's? Because maybe you still have time to heel your regrets. Rein them in before they run away with you. A chance to ...to say the thing unsaid, or realize you've stayed too long. To get back on the course to being in love. Because even though my moments aren't always the brightest, because I've been there I don't want anyone else to have to.go.
Love begets regret. But then love is the parent of many things.