Friday, April 1, 2011

Life is like monkey bars

"Life is like monkey bars. You have to let go to move forward." 
A friend posted this quotation on Facebook yesterday. It resonated with me, though I have to admit "letting go" is something I often find hard to do.

In middle age (and, yes, I am middle-aged now), I certainly find it easier to let go of some things - anger, disappointment, unrealistic expectations of myself and others, and the need to feel productive all the time, for instance.  But I still cling to other things - in particular, regret over decisions that can't be undone. It's as if subconsciously I believe I'll eventually find a way to make the impossible possible if only I think about it long and hard enough.

Rationally, I accept that it's best to let go of as many regrets as possible and focus on the future instead. However, I've also come to believe that some regrets perform useful functions. They humble me and remind me to learn from my mistakes for starters. And they inspire me to be more patient and understanding of other peoples' errors in judgement. Most importantly, they give me a greater appreciation for the many right choices I've made in my life.

Rather than trying to let go of all regrets, I think I'll try to carry with me just those few that are most significant to me - hopefully, with enough ease that they don't keep me from making my way across life's monkey bars. Realistically, I'm not sure it's in my nature to leave all regret behind in any case.

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