Natasha Bedingfield has a pocket full of sunshine. My pockets are warm and toasty, too, but my closet is full of bad. My bad. I can’t run for President; I’ll admit that. I’m afraid there’s one too many skeletons around for that particular road. I’ve always been puzzled by those who say they never look back with any kind of remorse. I wonder if it’s even possible to get to the city of no regret, and where those lucky people got their directions. What would it look like? How would it feel? Who on earth would be there? Would you?
I was asked recently if I believe that time heals all wounds. At first I answered yes. Then a small but sharp pain in my chest led me to come back with a no. That nagging jab reminded me that time had only dulled my demons. Then I wondered if I simply required more time. I wondered how many more days or years I might possibly have left to hope that wonderful eraser called time would do its magic, transforming all my bad into blazing pockets of sunshine.
The regret that hangs on the longest, at least for me, comes from the bad and sad I created rather than anything that was done to me or thrown at me during the times I’ve stumbled through. I realize by now that most of my bad wasn’t intentional; it was merely an off shoot of inexperience, fear, ignorance, confusion, or all the aberrations riding my back like yelping monkeys. I won’t offer excuses; I’ll take responsibility, but it doesn’t stop me from contemplating the complexities of my choices, actions, and outcomes. Regret sneaks in.
So, as we get older and wiser, where do we put all these regrets? Is there a special closet for that? Can we possibly file it neatly into novels, music, our children, or some other beautiful masterpiece only we, as individuals, can create? Is it up to us to shape something radiant enough to shatter all skeletons? I think it’s worth a shot.
Aberrations is clearly about the choices we make – and the sacrifices we volunteer to undergo. But sometimes we make the wrong choice and our life is never the same. It’s true that we may never completely forget some of our worst mistakes; regret may linger. Certainly, if we know that we’ve learned and grown, it helps keep those things in perspective. Sometimes we just have to forgive ourselves, hoping that we did the best we could at the time, even if it wasn’t good enough. We have to somehow incorporate those experiences into the masterpiece of our lives, as unique and extraordinary as it may be. I wish self forgiveness were easier. Maybe it’s a breeze for some. Maybe some folks don’t actually require it. I suppose those are all the chaps with no regrets that amaze people like me.
But having absolutely no regrets could make Johnny a dull boy. It’s like giving a kid the choice of playing with a picture or a puzzle. The picture could be spectacular but how long can it hold his attention? If we’re brave enough to delve into all the pieces of the puzzle, spread them out, sort them, search for the edges, and take the time necessary to snap them all together, surely we’ll be much more engaged, entertained, and ultimately satisfied. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my life to be a twelve piece puzzle. If I’m destined to piece this sucker together, I need complexity. Furthermore, I can’t imagine being happy with someone who prefers to play with a twelve piece puzzle. Where is the mystery? Where is the challenge? Where is the reward? I want it all.
Perhaps there’s a perfect closet out there for all my puzzle pieces, including the beautiful, confusing, edgy, simple, and damaged. As soon as I find it, I’ll store my regret there. I’ll attempt to organize and label each piece if I must. Whenever I have a free moment, I’ll pull it all out and chip away at the mystery. Surely I’ll never get bored. If I’m diligent, maybe one day I’ll step back and finally see the picture of my life, a masterpiece only I could create. Perhaps I’ll be in a wheelchair by then. Maybe I’ll be in a hospital or a nursing home. My hair will be white, my face dented with time. With my heart barely beating and my hands filled with sun shining like the tears of my children, I’ll smile as I gently close my eyes. Perhaps then I’ll see the road to no regret. I’ll go there–and look for you.