I keep hearing people say that they have no regrets about the things they’ve done. I have a gripe with the media for perpetuating this YOLO generation and reckless actions with no remorse for its consequences. If you live life like it’s your last, you need not worry about the repercussions of your actions, right? Unfortunately, or fortunately, life isn’t quite short enough for us to avoid the consequences of our recklessness. Living with no regrets leaves no room for remorse and accountability. Remorse is important in empathy. If there is no remorse, then we never grasp our ability to hurt others. It’s the mirror that helps us see the mistakes we’ve made and the possible ways to amend them. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my twenty-something lifetime, especially since I left for college. Once I left the nest, I spread my wings and went where the wind took me. I exposed myself to the various facets of a college experience by cramming, joining clubs/Greek organization, partying, interning, and working just to find where I fit the best. Eight times out of ten, it seemed like I was jamming a square into a circle. I wanted so badly to belong that I was willing to change who I was. At one point in my college career, particularly at the latter part of junior year, I felt like an decagon. I was completely changed from who I was, I barely recognized the person I turned into. I turned from being a timid nerd into a stereotypical sorority girl. I spiraled out of control, I let my grades slip by, my relationship with my dear mother deteriorated by a margin, and I was befriending toxic company.
It wasn’t until I received my first ever D in a midterm that I started to realize the demise. I crammed my way back to a decent grade and I found a cause that truly made me realize what I wanted to devote my life into. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten close to my former state of normal, I’m back to being a square and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve found a prince after kissing so many frogs along the way. I regret what I’ve done in the past, and I feel remorse for the people I’ve hurt along the way.
However, I can’t change the course my life has taken. Going in reverse isn’t going to reset the mileage of experiences in my life. The period when I was broken allowed time to put back together the disassembled pieces of my life, while leaving out the unnecessary bits behind. I can only go forward and be wise enough not to take a detour back to where I was. There are still times when I feel like I’m losing my way, or as though the map to my desired destination is incomprehensible. Unlike before when I turned to partying to escape and feign freedom, now I stop and look at the miles I’ve covered and lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Given the chance to reset my mileage and avoid having wasted resources on useless travails, I wouldn’t change much. Don’t get me wrong though. I’m regretful for my recklessness, but without them I wouldn’t have gained clarity and growth. Had I stayed the same as I was before, I would have been stunted in emotional growth. I would not have learned how deeply words can cut, or how my action can have so much collateral damage to people in my vicinity. The remorse I felt after I realized my wrongs helped me become a person who is more capable of understanding, empathy, and compassion. I do not want to return to follies of my youth, but without them I wouldn’t be the same. Just as a tree needs trimming for proper growth, or as a book needs several drafts before it reaches publication, cuts need to be made before a final destination is reached. Heck, even Pokemons evolve to become stronger versions of themselves. But in order to evolve, battles must be fought in order for the next level to be reached. I used my mistakes as the vehicle for change and transformation. I’m still in the drafts, I’m undergoing constant revisions, I’m still fighting my battles in hopes that one day I’ll be happy with my final destination. Without the mistakes I’ve made, I would have remained in the drafts of my former self, but mistakes were made and I ain’t the same.