Regrets – I’ve Had a Few

February 16, 2011 at 6:00 am 4 comments

We had an old yellowed radio on top of the fridge in the kitchen when I was growing up. I remember leaning on that fridge listening to Frank Sinatra croon “My Way.” I heard him sing of the satisfaction to be felt at the end of life’s journey. He did it his way and gave it his best. No regrets. I subconsciously nodded in agreement and made that philosophy one of my life’s goals. It’s kind of interesting that a song, set near life’s end should appeal to someone still wet behind the ears.
Life's Oyster
When I propped myself against the old Frigidaire I was about 18, bright-eyed and fresh. The world was my oyster holding a beautiful pearl to be plucked. I was confident and excited about what lay ahead. I would be large and in charge. That pearl of material affluence was mine. There were many well known paths to guide me in opening the oyster; however the Jones’ are a proud Welsh breed. We have a history of acknowledging those paths yet happily insisting on doing it our way. Yes, it may be foolhardy, but we consider ourselves rugged risk takers and groundbreakers. Doing it ‘my way’ is my default setting.

I’ve spent fifty-some years now prying on that material oyster. There has been the odd glimpse and grasp of pearl, but mostly I’ve slogged in oyster goo. Now, being at life’s re-evaluation stage (a nice way of saying rationalizing underachievement), I realize that the material pearl is artificial. It has no lasting meaning. After wondering what it’s all about, I see the real pearl in life is our inner being.

In life, we encounter loss, failure and defeat. They are the grit in our life. When the oyster ingests a chunk of grit, it forms a beautiful pearl around it. It absorbs the grit, owns it and moves on. Letting life’s grit chafe our inner self, inflames and irritates our soul. Leaving it grate for too long can be detrimental to our health. We need to do the same as our oyster friend. Absorb it, own it and move on. Form a pearlescent coating of character around it and shape the jewel of your life.

As humans though, we are capable of regret. Even after we overcome the grit we still remember it and that memory itself can become destructive. One can’t totally eliminate regret, that’s impossible. There are serious regrets that must be acted upon and corrected; then there are minor regrets, the things we wish we’d done different but don’t justify revisiting. We have to absorb these minor regrets. Frank sang of regrets, but too few to mention. He absorbed them and moved on. We need to be at peace with any regrets in our life and forgive them. It will reinvigorate our life. Our pearl will grow more stunning.

The very good friend of a friend sadly passed away recently. Reportedly, she was at peace facing the end. She felt the greatest achievement in life was that she had become the person she wanted to be. She was satisfied with her pearl. That struck me as, not only a noble goal, but as a very basic one. She did it ‘her way’ and was satisfied with the results. What better can we hope for?

With luck, I’m not too close to that precipice of mortality but I’m at an age where one naturally looks back and assesses their journey. I’d say mine hasn’t been bad but I have a few do-over wishes.
Yeah, my pearl is flawed. Happily, there is still time to polish and glaze it. I have to learn to forgive myself those small regrets and accept they are a part of me, to absorb them. I want to be happy as a clam…er, oyster.

As you live your life, may you, as the oyster, absorb the grit you encounter. May you and I forgive our regrets and live a life that’s refreshed and reinvigorated.

May your pearl be beautiful and may your last thoughts be a satisfied, “I did it my way.”

Peace

© Dave Jones/ Thunderbridge Productions 2011

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Entry filed under: Articles.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dale Long  |  February 16, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Sometimes we dwell so much on what could have been, we can’t see how good we have it.
    What a great post, Dave.

  • 2. richhelms  |  February 16, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Dave

    Nicely written. Thanks

  • 3. elainecruisesmith  |  February 16, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Well-captured sentiments, Dave. Really resonated with me. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • 4. Lisa Llamrei  |  February 17, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Really beautiful, Dave. Both the sentiment and the expression.

    Is this from the same guy who is questioning his skill as a writer?

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