Life, being the series of discretionary choices that it is, leads us to have small bouts of grief for the opportunities not taken.
Each decision represents a moment lost forever, never to be recaptured again, unless the exact same option or crossroad presents itself again later in life.
Second chances and do-overs are few and far between, but at times they do make themselves known, almost like junctures of chance or redemption.
Yet there are a series of ‘what ifs’ that never make their way back into our symphony of choices and it is these that can play a haunting music throughout our lives.
It is the ballad of regret and longing, coupled with a not knowing what the outcome might have been, that pierces our senses, especially at those times when things go wrong. If we had taken the other road, would we have ended up at this challenge?
Regret, as I have written before, is purposeless, but it can’t help but creep up and take residence in our mind and hearts when conflict inhabits our present – a present that we, foolishly, think we own.
So what happens to that choice not made, that road not taken – are its remnants embroidered into the tapestry of our destiny to perpetually stitch itself into the trajectory of our lives, a dangling string from the edge never to be removed? Does it inhabit the air we breathe and is it ingrained into our senses to remind us with each hour of gasp where the alternate path may have led?
Some choices we do not make, they are made for us by the bastions of fate, but it is our reaction to these ‘life hiccups’ that again alters our course and manifests a different outcome than that which we planned. And planning, being the designs of life’s tempter, is a willing suitor for the folly of fate.
We own decision, but never its outcome.
We own action, but never its result.
We own the art of living, but not the canvas of our lives.
There are no instances of happenstance, all tracts of life are foreordained – including those options we think we face, including the where we go and the how we handle all the what ifs we are given.
Everything in our lives, from the tranquil and appealing to the difficult and tumultuous – it is all written in the wind and carried forth with every singular instant of our lives that leads us toward a new destination, with every indelible moment that takes yet another one of our finite, mortal breaths away reminding us, yet again, how regret is a useless emotion.