This morning I watched a TED talk called Don’t Regret Regret. Now I wonder if my big regrets are somehow weird.
This is a graph they used to talk about what people most regret in their lives.
Most of my regrets are failures of love, failures of ethics, ways in which I have wronged people, and I don’t really see those listed although some of them could fall under self, family, friends, spirituality, and community, if you stretched them.
I do wish I’d never set foot in a school, but if you asked me to list my biggest regrets that wouldn’t even come up in my head, so i’m surprised education and career are so high.
Possibly the thing I’ve done concretely in the world that I most regret is something I may never be able to discuss in public. And that’s okay — privacy is a thing. Just because I talk about a lot of things other people see as private, doesn’t mean I don’t have a right to determine what I am private about. But I can say that I did what I think was a profound betrayal of another human being in the way I used power over them. It wouldn’t have looked like much — or like anything bad — to most observers, but most observers wouldn’t have known shit about what they were looking at. It was bad, I am sure it hurt the person, and I have a hard time forgiving myself for it.
I also regret a lot of things I took part in that I am told that because of my age at the time I really wasn’t 100% responsible for them, especially given what I was led to believe by my family. (Sorry for being overly crytpic here.) But it makes me wonder at what point a person becomes responsible. Which I suspect depends on the situation and the person, rather than being something set in stone that just happens.
At any rate, I have tiny regrets that fit parts of this graph, but my big regrets really aren’t on or near the top of the chart here. Or on the chart at all. The little regrets are ones that might come to mind time to time, but are easily banished and forgotten. And that would certainly not pop into my head if you asked me to name 12 or even 24 things I regretted.
I wonder if I’m weird or if the way they came up with this graph somehow doesn’t represent how most people would see their regrets.