Having pondered the subject of guilt in an earlier blog, I am now thinking about its second cousin, the subject of regret. My parents had many regrets in their adult life, the main one being that they didn’t leave Europe at an early age and thus avoid the horror of the Second World War. But there were others, many of them being the decisions they made in either spending or managing their money. No matter how problematic my father’s relationship was with my brother, he never regretted anything he said or did in my poor brother’s regard. Remember, he was the one member of my family who never, never was able to say, “I’m sorry” except on one occasion.
My mother had many regrets, the most painful one for her was that she felt she was not close to her mother. And after my grandmother was killed, she was haunted by the fact that she never told her mother that she loved her. It’s mistakes like that which are the most lethal ones with which to live.
The other most painful regrets have to do with money. I heard my dad say, “I should have invested in that apartment house.” Of course his friend, who did take a chance on it, made a small fortune. Moreover, Dad didn’t learn from his mistake. He never was able to risk a dime on anything that wasn’t a hundred percent insured, solid investment. He had many regrets in his life.
Fast forward to my own regrets. I must be chip off the old block because I don’t really have any regrets regarding my interpersonal relationships. However, my husband and I both regretted not putting our house on the market a couple of years earlier when the market was hot. Our house is rented now and the regrets have diminished.
Moreover, recently there has been some talk about the fact that we may be going into an inflationary period in our economy, and owning a house may just end up being the best hedge against inflation that we could possibly have. So all this makes me wonder if we should really spend a whole lot of time kicking ourselves over regrets, when there isn’t much we can do to reverse things, and maybe, just maybe, our decisions may end up being the best ones we could have made in the first place.