No Regrets

I don't usually have time to listen to podcasts, but the title of this one by my friend and khouria Frederica Mathewes-Green caught my eye.  (I kidnapped it for this post.)  It's short and simple.  She starts out mentioning the somewhat-controversial idea that bodily illness can sometimes be a sign of a sinful lifestyle, though of course one doesn't imply the other.  Then she goes on to quote a caller on a radio show who spoke about the wild days of her youth in these terms: "I have no regrets.  If I could, I'd do it all over again."

The point Frederica makes, with which I couldn't agree more, is that there are plenty of things you should regret -- and these usually fall on the side of self-indulgence.  I don't think I've ever come to the end of a day and wished I'd spent more time watching YouTube videos, eaten more junk food or snapped at more people.  I almost always wish I'd been more patient with my family and more guarded in my choices -- spending time cooking or gardening or writing instead of being passively entertained.

It's the tough choices you don't often regret -- the choices to suck it up and be an adult, keep your mouth shut instead of complaining, do the work instead of finding an excuse not to.  Ironically, it's often much easier and more rewarding than you could have imagined.  I can't think of a time I've regretted sacrificing for someone else, no matter how unfair it seemed at the time:
There are gonna be times like that, when you look back, when you see -- you weren't having a great time, everything wasn't just the way you wanted it to be . . . you might have been uncomfortable, it might have been difficult, you weren't getting the thing that you wanted, but . . . they are the times that we think, 'I don't regret going through that . . . I did the right thing, and it was tough.'