On Guilt and Regret.

I am publishing another guest post today! This one is written by a friend of mine who used to have a blog. We’ve been emailing back and forth for a long, long time, so I guess that means I can overlook the fact that he currently lives in Australia 😉 Point is: He used to have an awesome blog, and he wrote this guest post for us today! Hooray!

The chance to guest post for the delightful Kendel is a rare and privileged event indeed. My own blogging career ended years ago now but this is a special occasion, so let’s dance one more time and here’s the sort of blog post I used to write 🙂 My name’s Eddie and I’ll be your host for this post.

Many things slotted into place as I got older, things that once played on my mind until the wee hours of the morning now play on my mind in the most wonderful way instead. The difference between then and now ? Not time alone, I see that clearly now but more in the way that I recognized guilt and/or regrets for what they both truly are.

Get comfortable a while as I try and explain what this means and the profound effect it had on so much of my life. It may help even one reader in just the tiniest way, if so my work is done. If not it might entertaining another for a coffee break, work done again – totally worth it.

There was a moment (this is only one of many I might add) when I found myself alone and reflecting on a break up that I had orchestrated. Long story but distilled quickly down to me ending a three year relationship that I simply didn’t want to be a part of any longer. No spur of the moment decision either, but one I thought long and hard about until making the final break and calling it off. It turned out that the night I delivered “that speech” (we’ve all done these or had them delivered in return, they never get easier) happened to be the third anniversary of the day we met, a day I’d long forgotten but my girlfriend of the time had not. A lesson learned for me in the significance of dates and the different amounts of importance associated with them by both parties.

The inevitable fallout took place, I was in the spotlight as public enemy number one (in fact I think I was the antichrist for a little while) and I found myself subjected to all of my, hers and our friends viewpoints on the situation. No-one was shy about sharing their opinions on the subject whatsoever. So many told me that I ought to have felt really guilty for doing such a mean thing on our anniversary, some told me things I can barely put into words so I’ll leave those alone. And as I sat and reflected on this and now and many other events of the past I came to a small moment of clarity that became a much bigger thing very soon after.

Guilt ? Regret ? What was THAT ? Why did I feel that and what on earth for ? What was it REALLY ?!

I thought long and hard about this and each event in question. Hadn’t I done what I thought was the best thing in each circumstance ? Hadn’t I followed my instincts and gotten caught in the moments later regretted ? Did I not take crazy and silly risks in those “what the hell” moments ? I did all those things. And on really close inspection if I lived my life over I’d likely do the same things at those moments just as I did then. These decisions and their consequences were unique to myself, they were mine and mine alone to make. They made me ME and they make me the person I am now. They were the moments where I was never more true to myself than right there right then.

This epiphany grew and built on itself as time went by, I found similar things in others that they occasionally shared, one such I found only recently by none other than Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters fame.

“Guilt is cancer, it will confine you, torture you, destroy you as an artist. It’s a wall, it’s a black hole, it’s a f*cking thief, it’ll keep you from you”

Jeez I love this man 🙂 He’s talking about music here of course but there’s more to this to my mind.

Guilt, it’s actually optional, really it is. I’m not saying to act like a total selfish ass all the time, far from it. Rather than not to lose everything you could gain and every experience that’s out that for the fear or the guilt. Or worse still the fear OF the guilt, that’s going to stifle every part of you into nothing.

If you want to eat that cupcake, eat the damn cupcake and run it off later. If you want to wallow in sadness with a bottle of wine and a chick flick, if that’s how you feel then Bridget Jones awaits. You want to smoke a joint or jump into bed with the wrong guy, just do it. If that’s what YOU want at that moment then have that, be you. The only things I’m genuinely sorry for are those I decided not to do. Cliché much ? Yes, but absolutely true to the very core.

You aren’t what you’ve done, you are who you ARE now, no-one should be defined by their past, only by their present. Nobodies judgment of you is relevant. This is something I live by to this day and I think I always will. Thoughts of the past come and go, some I laugh hard at myself over, some I facepalm over, others I wish I hadn’t done but I smile over regardless. They are me, that’s all, and I wouldn’t trade even one of them in.

Think about this if you will, guilt over something you did. I’m sure everyone who has heroically managed to read this far has one episode or two that they feel guilty for. Reflect for a moment then, have a good look at the reason why you feel that guilt. Is it your reason or someone else’s reason ? Is it a real reason for guilt or a habit you developed to feel like you were in the wrong ?

Did you not act in a manner that was true to yourself ? If you weren’t true to yourself then yes I’ll agree that’s a moment for guilt, otherwise no and these are the things you’ll smile over many years later. These are things you’ll share with drunken friends around a table years in the future when it’s your turn for the “most embarrassing break up” or “naughtiest thing you never got caught for” story. And believe me (I genuinely mean this too) you will laugh so hard (really, you’ll surprise yourself) and these once guilt laden experiences will forever be wonderful to recall.

This was the result of my epiphany regarding guilt, it hasn’t changed. For the record I’m still in touch now with the anniversary breakup girl to this day, we share photos of our kids and chat often and openly. Others from that time who freely piled on the guilt and blame are barely memories, long tone and unimportant. The past is nothing to weigh you down until you sink, it’s a life jacket to keep you afloat when you need a cheer up 🙂 I watched others around me become truly tortured by their past to the point of living such uneventful existences after, and I almost weep for their loss. That loss of a life.

Why tiptoe through live to arrive safely at death, that’s coming either way to us all.

So as Kendel (through what she writes and via her tattoo) says often, seize the day. Go and live. It’s for this reason I was drawn to this blog ages ago as I see such greatness and joy for the owner for her wonderful attitude and it rings so very, very true.

OK enough now, I suddenly remember why I no longer blog, each post was just too damn long. With much love and warmest regards to the readers, one and all. Most of all to the amazing kickass Kendel (dibbs on that phrase if that ever becomes a thing) who trusted me with her readers who are doubtless so very different from mine.

I’ve been your host for this post and I look forward to seeing how the rest of the guest posts go, it’s a really cool thing to open a blog up to 🙂

Eddie.

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4 thoughts on “On Guilt and Regret.

  1. Guilt isn’t always bad. It can be a mechanism for checking ourselves, a built in sensation that compels us to evaluate our behavior. Did I do the right thing? It should’t be obsessed over however. Evaluate then move on.

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